Coming to grips with the five most terrifying words you will ever ask yourself

Author with her daughters on the beach

One of the best Quora posts I ever read was someone who posed the question, “Is this all there is?” The author bared his soul, sharing his story about how he struggled with this question and how the implications of his answer compelled him to make monumental changes in his life.

For many of us, our lives are never ending hamster wheels. Get up. Work. Make dinner. Squeeze in an hour of exercise. Watch TV for an hour. Do it all over again. At some point, we will inevitably ask ourselves, is this all there is?

I know my answer.  While there are days when life’s routine wears me down, I have lived a good life.

I have watched the migration of the wildebeast and zebras in the setting sun of the Serengeti.

I have strolled along the banks of the Seine, the Thames and the Hudson.

I have explored the stopes of a gold mine thousands of feet underground, and hiked to the peaks of majestic mountains.

I have swam with dolphins, raced through forests on dog sleds, and snorkeled with schools of exotic fish in clear sparkling waters.

I have hiked glaciers on mountainsides and ziplined through the canopy of the rainforest.

I have known the love and respect of a wonderful man who has been my soul mate and partner for more than 30 years.

I have experienced the joy of watching my children grow, from taking their first uncertain steps, to watching their chubby little legs race down our hill to the lake on a warm summer’s day, to blossoming into the beautiful, strong, independent young women they’ve become today.

I have cherished friends who know me better than I know myself.

And I have enjoyed the peace and tranquility of living for almost two decades on my beautiful spring-fed lake and all the joys it brings each season.

I hope life brings more adventures, but if this is all there is, I’m OK with that. I choose to find joy each day in my small, simple life, and be grateful for the life I have lived.

This week’s #HappyAct is dedicated to the memory of my sister-in-law, Karen Gillies who passed away this week and who was taken from us far too young. An amazing wife, mother and friend, she embodied kindness and grace. Karen told us that she had come to accept her fate. I derive some comfort in knowing that Karen would have answered the question, is this all there is, the same way.

 Author at the top of Whistler mountain

The best investment you can make

Warren BuffettIt’s RRSP season, a time when Canadians take a few minutes away from dreaming of warmer temperatures and travels south to consider where to invest their money.

For investors, this weekend is big for another reason. Yesterday, Warren Buffett, the President of Berkshire Hathaway released his 50th annual letter to shareholders. For those of us who have an interest in the world of investing, Buffett is “the bomb” and his annual letter is a must-read, full of gems. I’ve included a few highlights and interesting facts from this year’s letter at the end of today’s blog.

While Buffett’s fortune of $73 billion may make him a happy guy, I think he’d agree with me that the best investment you can make is not in any one stock or company. It’s in yourself.

I can’t take credit for this advice. I was on one of my favourite social media sites, Quora the other day and saw this question: What’s the best investment a 20-year old can make? The cool thing about Quora is anyone can post an answer. One wise millennial beyond her years posted this answer: to invest in yourself.

Warren Buffett always says don’t invest in what you don’t understand. No one understands you or knows what is best for you than yourself.

This week’s #HappyAct is to make the best investment you can make by investing in yourself. Follow this advice and you’ll enjoy every bit as much of success as Warren Buffett.

From Buffett’s 2015 annual letter to shareholders

  • Wondering where to invest your money? Buffett believes in investing in businesses with intrinsic value. Berkshire Hathaway increased its ownership in 2014 to 7.8% of IBM, 9.2% in Coca-Cola and 14.8% of American Express
  • The per-share value of Berkshire Hathaway in 1965 was $19. Today it’s $146,186. That’s an annual compound rate of return of 19.4%
  • “Gender should never decide who becomes CEO”
  • 39,000 people attended the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting in Omaha last year. This year it’s on May 3. Buffett gives tips on how to get there and where to shop to help attendees save money. For example, one of his companies, the shoe company Brooks will be selling special commemorative running shoes!