It’s called an epiphany. That’s a point in your life when you say to yourself, “Dang! I really should have figured this out a long time ago.” An epiphany can happen at any time. It’s as simple as, “I should have been using flavored creamer in my coffee all along.”, or “I should cut the grass in a different direction each week so I don’t create ruts in my yard.” and the ever famous, “I should have had a V-8”.
I owned a construction company and was the owner / operator. I wasn’t alone all the time, I had employees, but as a diligent and slightly picky owner I wanted to make sure that I was active in every aspect of the job. Getting my hands dirty and helping people beautify, repair and replace was my goal in life. I enjoyed it so much that I ignored the important things in life. I ignored my health by working through lunch and into the late hours of the night without taking a break. I ignored my family thinking it was more important to finish the job today then coming home for dinner or making it in time to watch my kids at karate class. I ignored my parents and their need for the companionship of their son. Let’s face it, I was successful but at what cost?
The future is uncertain for the most part except for THE two certainties: Death and Taxes. We all know and accept the fact that if we make some money that we will have to pay taxes on what we earned. We may not like it but it’s a fact of life. We see our paychecks each month with deductions and at the beginning of each year we try to get as much of it back as we can. Some of us will try to figure out how to do this ourselves but the majority of us will pay for someone to do our taxes. Why? Because we trust that a CPA will get us as much of our money back as possible.
What about death? Everyone knows that life insurance protects your family’s way of life when you pass, but, for the most part, we all seem to think that we’re going to live forever. Heck, with the advances in medicine I’m sure there will be a magic pill that lets everyone live to 100 years old. By then, we will have enough to take care of ourselves, our house will be paid off and we’ll have set aside money for our children, our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren.
We all think that, until, you have your Mortality Epiphany.
My, mortality epiphany happened, on the job. It was a beautiful January day in the Florida sunshine. The morning dew covered the grass and the two story wood siding house needed a paint job. It dawned on us that the complexity of the second story should have called for a boom lift but cost and pride shut down that idea and the mouths of my employees. The roof had such a steep pitch that we had to lay the ladders flat against the roof and anchor the bottoms into the grass. I decided as the owner / operator that I would take on the task of laying on a ladder on a roof and paint all the hard to reach areas myself. The morning went along uneventful. The pizza arrived at noon for my employees, but as a diligent and picky employer I kept on working.
Epiphany time. As I crept higher on the ladder my weight lifted the bottom of the ladder off its moorings and down I went. The ladder shot off the roof and for just a moment I felt like Wile E. Coyote in the cartoons suspended in mid-air above my doom. I hit the ground hard, feet first, then my back side slammed into the earth. “How did I miss the trees, the rocks or the patio?” I sat on my bruised ego for what seemed like an eternity. As the shouts of my employees sang through the air, “Are you ok?”, only one thought went through my mind. “Who’s going to take care of my family if I fell on my head and not my pride?”
I was successful but at what cost? I had totally missed the easiest opportunity to take care of my family (slap your forehead), “I should have had life insurance!”
Remember death and taxes? We pay to get as much of our tax money back. Why the heck don’t we pay to give our hard earned money to those we love, before we have a mortality epiphany?
It really is that easy.