I was checking something on the Companies House website yesterday and a familiar name popped up. It was a guy who in the late 1980s had worked in a similar sales role to me, but for a competitor to my then employer. He now has his own company, which is why he popped up in my search result.
Now in 1990 I was made redundant and left that industry. I was angry and upset and as has become my style, moved on in search of something new and interesting. He also left his job at around that time, but had the sense to stick with the industry he knew, where we both had a wide network of contacts.
I downloaded his filed company accounts. He’s the sole director and shareholder and the balance sheet value is around £20m. For the rest of the day I felt regret that I had not followed his example. I’m far from hard up, but a few million in the bank would give me more choice about how and where I spend my time.
Then in the evening I met a friend for a coffee. She was upset because she’d just visited an old friend who had just been given a terminal cancer diagnosis and has just six months left. It was terrible news that had devastated her family and not surprisingly, deeply shocked my friend.
So in the space of one day I was confronted with two very different situations that could so easily have happed to me. I could have focused more on making money and become wealthy, and equally, I might be told next month that I am dying.
My conclusion is that there is no point in worrying about what might have been, nor is there any merit in worrying about what tomorrow might bring. The answer I think is to focus on the here and now and live each day to the full. That’s hard for a natural over-thinker like me, but it’s probably the only way to stay sane!