I don’t usually make a New Years Resolution as I usually think they are silly. If there is something you have to do, be it change job, lose weight, quit smoking, buy more shoes, then you should just do it, whether it is January or June. But a few weeks ago I read a blog post that made me think I need to adopt a resolution this year. But this is different, this isn’t a goal for 2012, this is a goal for the rest of my life.
The blog post I read was written by someone who works in palliative care, and looks after people in the last 3-12 weeks of their lives. It is called Regrets of the Dying, and I strongly recommend you read it, but here is a very short summary of the 5 regrets most commonly expressed by people who are dying:
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard and I wish I’d spent more time with my kids.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
You probably noticed that “I wish I’d made more money” or “I wish I’d had a more successful career” are not on that list. And that’s made me think a lot about the decisions I have and will make in my life.
My husband and I left London because we were sick of the rat race, and we chose to live in Squamish over Vancouver because we wanted to live somewhere that was beautiful and that had a great sense of community. We also wanted to buy a big house that wasn’t going to cost us millions, so the mortgage could be paid off when we were young.
Sometimes I get off track and think about what I need to do to make myself more successful or earn more money. But then I realize that it isn’t worth giving up my quality of life to do those things. Sure, I’d like more money and I’d like to be more successful, but I am not going to do it if it means I won’t get to see my son grow up, or I won’t be able to take weekends off.
I want my mortgage paid, I want summers off to spend in my husband’s country house in Sweden, and I only want to work four days a week. But those things aren’t going to happen this year, and since I’ve always been so motivated and career driven in life, it is going to take a while for me to refocus my goals. So this year my main goal is to stop working Sundays. In fact, I don’t really want to work Saturdays either, but I may occasionally need to do that. This means no blogging, checking emails, checking Twitter, or anything. A day I spend with the people I care about, not a bunch of people I “follow.”
I did a calculation recently, and realized if we work five days a week, with 10 public holidays and 10 days holiday a year, 66% of our days are spent at work. However, if we work four days a week, then only 52% of our days are spent at work. That already seems like way too much to me, but it is a much nicer number than the first one. So that is what I am working towards: time off. And if that is at the expense of my career, so be it. I certainly won’t regret it when I am on my deathbed.
What are your goals for 2012?