“What do most people say on their deathbed? They don't say, 'I wish I'd made more money.' What they say is, 'I wish I'd spent more time with my family and done more for society or my community.'”
–David Rubenstein, American financier and philanthropist
Benjamin Franklin once wrote to his friend, physicist Jean-Baptiste Leroy, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” The statement is a bit tongue-in-cheek but it does pack an important point. One of the surest things about life is that it will end in physical death. We will eventually die just like all those who came before us and all those who will come after. It’s a fact of life. One of the realities of death is that we won’t be able to take anything with us to the afterlife. And so on your deathbed, there will probably be a lot of things that you won’t care about anymore. Here are just a few of them.
On your deathbed, you probably won’t care about how much money you’ve got in your bank account. You won’t be able to use it anyway when you’re gone. Sure, others might benefit from it. And it might be reassuring to know that your family will be taken care of. But you probably won’t care too much about money. On your deathbed, I highly doubt you’re going to want to see your bank statement one more time just to admire how much money you’ve accumulated through the years. And I don’t think you’re going to be wishing you made more of it either.
Big houses. Fancy cars. Vacation homes. None of these material things will matter when you’re on your deathbed. Sure, they were probably fun to play with. But you’re not going to be taking any of them with you. You’re probably not going to request to see that shiny BMW one last time before you kick the bucket. Material possessions quickly lose their luster in the light of death.
Those awards hanging in your living room will pale in comparison to knowing that you’re about to reach your end. The name and fame you built for yourself won’t really matter once you’re gone. And you probably won’t be caring about it. On your deathbed, you’re not going to want to hold those plaques and trophies one more time.
The funny thing is that these are the very things that people chase after in this world. And people often do so at the expense of the things that really matter most in life. On your deathbed, you’re probably going to want to have your family and friends around you. On your deathbed, you’re going to want to prepare your soul to meet your Maker. On your deathbed, you’re going to care about whether or not your life made a difference.
But why wait to be on your deathbed to cherish the things that really matter in the end?