It’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of the day that we neglect to take time to do the things we know will bring true wealth as we look back on our life.
Too often when a loved one passes away we wish we could have just one more day with them to right a wrong or simply tell them that we love them.
For years, I’ve been taking one-on-one trips with my two kids. We’ve created memories that will undoubtedly last a lifetime. But I have never taken a one-on-one trip with my dad.
Recently, my dad turned 85. He’s already outlived his life expectancy and he’s at an age where most people are content to sit back and ride out their remaining time in peace and relaxation.
But I got this crazy idea. What if my dad and I took a one-on-one trip just like I’ve been doing with my kids? Would he have the interest and strength to do it?
My dad is a quiet, reserved, respectful, conservative, mild mannered family man. I’m just about the opposite. I’m an energetic entrepreneur, Ironman triathlete, and I only know one gear—all out.
When I brought up the idea to him about going on a trip together, his response overwhelmed me. He said he’d love to.
I was born and raised in Canada and my dad is a proud Canadian. When I asked him where he’d like to go on our trip, he said, “Prague.” I was expecting something a little less daunting for an 85-year old who typically sleeps in until 11:00am. But of course, I was game. I found the date of the Prague Marathon and we built an Eastern Europe trip around it.
We had a great time mapping out the trip and decided to visit six cities in five countries. Our itinerary included Prague, Berlin, Dresden, Vienna, Bratislava (Slovakia), and Budapest.
Every city was a first for my dad, except for Berlin. He visited there for a day many years ago before the wall came down. Most of the cities were a first for me, too.
As Jews, the trip was extra special as we learned so much about the history of the Jews in Eastern Europe. We saw the House of Terror in Hungary, the famous Hospital in the Rocks, said a prayer at the largest synagogue in Europe, and we visited the Jewish quarter in both Prague and Budapest.
Looking back, it still amazes me how much we did together on this trip. Dad was so excited he was ready to go by 7:00am each morning.
We took a couple river cruises down the Danube in different cities. We rented a classic car and toured Prague. We visited Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin and went to a Mozart concert in Vienna. He even posed for a picture with an eagle on his head and was brave enough to sail the sky in a hot air balloon. We also walked about 5 miles per day. My dad said he hadn’t exercised this much in 50 years.
This trip was the most time we’d spent together since I was in high school more than 30 years ago.
And while it was fun to experience all these things with my dad, what I’ll remember most is the conversation. We talked about marriage, kids, and life. Two grown men, bound by blood yet who have very different life experiences, sharing our thoughts, passing along wisdom, and reliving memories from eight decades. It was a priceless time neither of us will ever forget.
When we returned to Canada a week later for a family weekend in Toronto, my mom and my wife both commented that they hadn’t seen my dad this alive and fired up in years. He seemed younger and he had an extra pep in his step. He’s already asked me, “What are we going to do next son?”
True Wealth Insights
Looking back on this trip, a few insights stand out.
1. True wealth is the only wealth we have.
Money comes and goes but time only goes. Keep perspective on what’s truly important in life and make sure how you allocate your time reflects what you say is most meaningful to you.
2. Don’t wait until a crisis happens.
Before they pass or their health doesn’t allow it, reach out to your loved ones and create a special memory that you will both cherish. Don’t leave for tomorrow what you can do today because someday, there will be no tomorrow.
3. The only perfect time is now.
If you keep waiting for the perfect time to do something, it will be too late. Stop making excuses and start doing the things you know create true wealth.
4. The best investments are not made with money.
The best investments in life come from investing our time, our love, and ourselves with the people dearest to us and with those who need our help.
5. At the end of our days, it’s not our work that will be remembered, it’s the lives we’ve touched.
In the moment, the work we do seems so important, and yes, it is important. But in the big picture, the relationships we have and the lives we touch will be our true lasting impact.
My two kids are now teenagers and before long, they’ll have their own families. The one-on-one trips we’ve been taking will be replaced by the new memories they’ll create with their spouses and kids. But someday, I hope I’ll be able to have an experience with my grown kids just like I did with my dad.
About Mark Moses
Mark Moses is the Founding Partner of CEO Coaching International and the Amazon Bestselling author of Make Big Happen. His firm coaches over 100 of the world’s top high-growth entrepreneurs and CEO’s on how to dramatically grow their revenues and profits, implement the most effective strategies, becoming better leaders, grow their people, build accountability systems, and elevate their own performance. Mark has won Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award and the Blue Chip Enterprise award for overcoming adversity. His last company ranked #1 Fastest-Growing Company in Los Angeles as well as #10 on the Inc. 500 of fastest growing private companies in the U.S. He has completed 12 full distance Ironman Triathlons including the Hawaii Ironman World Championship 5 times.