August 27, 2007

Work and Regret

Have you heard the saying, "Nobody says on their death bed, 'I wish I spent more time at work?'"

Last night, I was talking to my dad, who just recently had back surgery. My dad has a second family, with three kids whose ages are about the same as mine. All under 9. (I am 35.) We were talking about how he is going to change how he works and where his priorities lie. He was talking about schedules and sleeping more and other things. Then he told me, that before his back surgery, he went to work at around 7:30 and comes home at 6:30. That's how it's been the entire time since he married my step-mom.

That's an 11 hour work day.

Everyday. And pretty much every weekend is spent catching up on stuff that he didn't get done during the week.

He's always worked like this. When I was little, like his current kids are, he owned a business. His hours were the same. He's lived his whole adult life working 11 hour days, and working weekends.

He loves work. That's obvious. And he loves his kids. That's obvious too. But when a dad isn't around very often because he's working so much, what happens to all that love? It goes to work. The absolute best way he can tell his kids that he loves them is to work a normal 8 hour day and make family come first. Not working weekends, and being home when they are. That means more than anything.

When I'm on my deathbed, I will not regret the road not taken. If there is something I'm going to regret, then I want to change it now. Regret changes nothing.

"The only thing we leave behind when we die is our relationships." I've finally really learned that. After many years of pushing away friendship and love. And by being somewhat frantic when in communication with people, afraid that they might leave at any moment.

My issues and my dad's issues are different. But at the end of the day, the question is, are we living our lives in a way that we don't leave behind regret? And if we aren't, why not?

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