“I wish I would’ve known that the costs of building my home would’ve been so much over budget. I never would have begun the project,” Mr. Adler said.
“I understand,” Mr. Kagen commiserated. “We thought we could buy an inexpensive summer home and go away every year without spending much. Now I realize that every new season is accompanied by repairs and maintenance costs that make my ‘small’ investment a ‘large’ expense. I wish I’d never gotten involved in this ‘money pit.’”
Regrets are a common reaction over mistakes we all inevitably make. One should pray that one becomes aware of one’s errors before it’s too late to correct them. End-of-life regrets can be very painful.
Can you imagine someone saying “I wish I would’ve spent more time at work”? Probably not! What most people regret is not spending enough of their valuable time with their children. Others feel badly that they wasted “free time” on frivolous matters when they could’ve used it productively to grow spiritually by learning more Torah. One might contend that time at work enabled one to acquire the needs of one’s children and provide for their pleasures as well. Therefore, they might say it was time well spent.
It’s true one must spend time on the materialistic things of this world. However, most spend an inordinate — even an unjustifiable — amount of time at work trying to achieve the state of comfort they envision as the end game of their efforts.
What your family needs most is YOU! You are their most valuable gift. You may work hard to give them additional presents and necessities, but don’t work so hard as to deny the most precious gift of all: Time spent with you. You don’t want one of your regrets to be “I wish I had spent more time with my family.” Change now while you can.
One More Second: Another Thought for the Day
In four words Mishlei (15:15) teaches us the secret of the “good life.” It isn’t building large houses, acquiring expensive toys, or going on exotic vacations. It isn’t controlling people. It is simply developing a good heart to the point where your life becomes a constant joy. (Avi Shulman, Candlelight, p. 125)