In life, there will always be people who you once looked up to for their material possessions, who you will wind up looking down upon because of how they acquired them. In my case, it was an uncle. He always had a business, lived in nice places, and drove fancy cars. It was back in the late 1960s and early 70s. I wasn’t alone, all of my cousins looked up to him as well. As I got older, I heard and also saw firsthand how he took advantage of people to get the things and live the life he wanted. We stopped admiring what he had and started abhorring the way he acquired them.
Fast forward to the middle 90s. I will never forget what he said to me when he was on his deathbed. I had to force myself to visit him in the hospital because I couldn’t stand him. He was surprised to see me walk into the room. To my astonishment, he started talking about all of the wrongs he did in his life. He then went quiet. As I got up to leave, he said, “Spoon (That’s what he called me), stay away from fast cars and fast women.” After I said, “OK”, he smiled and then just stared at the wall.
As I was walking to my car, I thought about how he was spending his last days focusing on the regrets he had in life as he pursued the “good life.” What made the situation sadder was that he actually had some very good business ideas. He died a couple of days later.
That conversation always comes to mind when I run into “Me first” people. I feel sad for them because I have a sense of what they will spend their last days talking about.