If You Had 12 Months to Live

My friend found out just before Christmas that his cancer is getting worse … and he has 12 months to live.

We had lunch the other day and kept it pretty upbeat. The last thing he wants is to have everyone feel sorry for him. He wants to have a good time. So I said: “Tell me the details in 60 seconds.”

That’s it, he said, “I’ve got less than 12 months.”

Amazed by his cool, collected attitude, I asked, “What have you learned from all this?

Decades of life on earth, and it comes down to three things:

    1. Stay in touch. It’s all about relationships. We have people come into our lives at various times and we lose track of them. When you find someone who is important to you, make an effort to keep them in your life.

    2. If you fall over, don’t get back up. In other words, don’t worry about making mistakes. Life’s not about being perfect — it’s about improvement. Part of success is trial and error (and failure). Don’t worry so much.

    3. Get properly insured. The third isn’t as philosophical, but it’s good advice anyhow. “If I wasn’t insured,” he said, “things could be much worse.” Because he took the proper steps, and now he can take his family to Europe for six weeks.

When you gain perspective, everything becomes clear. Let’s think about that for a moment.

Preserving relationships, accepting failure, planning ahead … How do these gems of advice apply to your life as an architect?

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