Business Is Terrible But Life Is Good: Isn’t That Better Than The Other Way Around?


I was driving four of my friends to the Isle of Palms—a beach community located just north of Charleston, SC—to spend a long New Year’s weekend. We left Ocala at 7:00 in the morning and now, nearly noon, my buddies decided it was time for them to get into the bourbon—after all, we were celebrating the new year.

So there I was, the designated driver for four semi-inebriated, would be philosophers, political prognosticators and rock stars. After hours of discussing the meaning of life; arguing about the presidential election eleven months away—Bill Clinton was running and promising to do something about the cost of health care: sound familiar?—playing air guitars and singing along with the radio, I was relieved when we arrived at our destination.

We had rented a three story, six bedroom home directly on the beach. After unloading suitcases, groceries, and coolers I wandered down to the beach to take a long walk. Upon returning, I learned my buddies had made a tee-time for the following day; not yet having taken up golf, I made plans to spend the day with my friend Anne Dozier and David, another friend who also did not play golf.

The following morning Anne, David and I were watching television trying to decide what to do, when an ad came on for a nearby restaurant promising all the oysters you could eat. An oyster, lover, David insisted, we go there for lunch.

The restaurant steamed and served the oysters in galvanized buckets, with a spare bucket for the shells. We hadn’t finished the first bucket, when David ordered a second; during the third bucket, Anne informed him that we were leaving to do some shopping and would return later.

After spending an hour and a half shopping for groceries and other supplies, Anne and I returned to the restaurant to find it closed. I knew David must be nearby, so I knocked on the door to find out if someone knew his whereabouts. The waitress, who had served us, answered the door exclaiming, “Thank goodness you’re here. Your friend is still eating, the restaurant is closed and we want to go home. Can you get him to leave?”

I can only guess how many buckets of oysters he had consumed; yet, we still had to threaten to make him walk to get him to leave. When he did, he indignantly stomped out of the restaurant, leaving me to make apologies and pay the bill. After that experience and the drive up, I knew the next three days were going to be interesting; I didn’t know I was going to have a life-changing revelation.

Everyone was still asleep the next morning when I decided to go out to purchase a newspaper and a cup of coffee. A warm morning for January, I was sitting outside drinking my coffee, when I read in the paper that, after a long illness, the head of a major corporation had died.

As I read about the passing of the man who had built a large conglomerate and amassed great wealth, I realized that I had been freely given blessings—wealth that could not be purchased—that he would have forfeited his entire fortune for: good health and a wife, family and friends who love and looked after me. This past month, I was reminded of that revelation by a comment from a friend.

We were discussing the current economic nightmare, when my friend said, “Life is good; business is terrible.” No sooner were the words out of his mouth, thinking about the CEO who left behind the great fortune, I responded, “Isn’t that better than the other way around: life is terrible and business is good?”

It is important to put our difficulties into perspective. When I have worries, fret about opportunities missed and my stomach turns at the fear of an economic downturn lasting into the future; it’s then I remind myself that if I lost every penny I had, I would be wealthier than many of those  on the Forbes list of the world’s 400 richest people.

Quote

The real measure of your wealth is how much you’d be worth if you lost all your money.”  -Anon.

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4 responses to “Business Is Terrible But Life Is Good: Isn’t That Better Than The Other Way Around?

  1. Life IS good … even with the pitfalls … for what would life be without family and friends. I do enjoy your writing.

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  3. I just discovered your blog and can’t stop reading. I love your writing. I am going through this whole “life is good, business is terrible” thing right now, and have been since I graduated from college this past spring. I started my blog, pretty much based on a fact similar to that – constantly finding myself struggling with the desire to have money while finding myself much happier than a lot of people I know, but at a cost, something I’m becoming increasingly confused about as I take this sentiment to my grave. I think, sometimes, that it clouds my judgment. For a long time, living small paycheck to even smaller paycheck seemed justifiable because I was lucky enough to do things I wanted to do, and have friends that would do these things with me. I work for three weeks and then go on weekend trips, essentially pointless in my parents perspective, but to me, they are times spent with friends who live far away, and with my sister away at college. Laughing, drinking good wine and eating interesting food with good friends and family always remains to be at the top of my list, but at what I think is the cost of my responsibility. Is it irresponsible to live like that? To spend all my money traveling and spending time with people that make me happier than my job. But that is the case for most people. Nobody wants to be working, yet I consistently make the irresponsible choice……hmmm

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