Here’s a powerful essay in Stanford Medicine by Paul Kalanithi. Kalanithi was a neurosurgeon who died three days ago from metastic lung cancer. But he left a beautiful series of notes on his experience. I know this site is about money, finance and economics, but the reality is that most of the people who read this site also know that money is not the end, it is simply a means. I started my book with a very deliberate quote:
“The person who mistakes ‘money’ for ‘wealth’ will live a life accumulating things, all the while mistaking a life of owning for a life of living.”
It’s too easy in modern day life to get caught up in the acquisition of money and forget that money is just one thing that may or may not lead to happiness. Later in the book I talk about how time is our most important form of wealth. Kalanithi’s last essay, titled, “Before I go” put this into perspective. He says:
“When you come to one of the many moments in life when you must give an account of yourself, provide a ledger of what you have been, and done, and meant to the world, do not, I pray, discount that you filled a dying man’s days with a sated joy, a joy unknown to me in all my prior years, a joy that does not hunger for more and more, but rests, satisfied. In this time, right now, that is an enormous thing.”
Another way of saying this is that we can never forget that we earn money to live, we don’t live to earn money. Anyway, go have a read. It will punch you right in the belly. In a good way.