About a year ago on 26 October 2022, my day was marked with many realisations, each with varying intensities of pause and self-reflection.
The first one came when it dawned on me that I had forgotten to bring along what I needed for a shower after our workplace’s monthly games day. Rummaging hopelessly through my bag, I quickly realised that I had left my towel on my living room couch instead of packing it into my bag.
No matter, it was a minor inconvenience, I thought as I eagerly looked forward to an hour of dunking it out with my colleagues at the basketball court towards the end of a workday. I even reminded myself to take it a little slower, so that I could probably wait till getting home to shower if I didn’t sweat all that much. As gross as it may sound, it turned out later that perspiration wasn’t the bodily fluid I had to worry about.
Not five minutes into the boisterous game, I somehow managed to run and stumble face first into the sharp corner of a pillar near the edge of the basketball court.
I fell to my knees and quickly tried to recover, feeling sheepish by my clumsiness. This embarrassment, however, was quickly replaced with a keen sense of shock. Red droplets rained rapidly upon the ground my involuntary gaze was on, and they were pouring from what could only be my face.
This time, the feeling was shared amongst all my colleagues who witnessed the accident unfold. Vision obscured, I could only hear them scrambling around, calling for help and for something to stop the bleeding. There was no pain as far as I could recall, but I did feel a dull and strangely calm sense of dread and fear.
Thankfully, owing to the steadfast aid of my colleagues, I was in a relatively stable condition before being ferried away to the nearest hospital by an ambulance.
Between the bandaging, prodding, and injections, the staff at the hospital advised me on the options I had for suturing the 4-inch gash I had across my left temple: a quick but possibly less aesthetically pleasing stitching up by an A&E doctor, or a more elaborate job by the resident plastic surgeon who naturally had more experience with facial procedures.
The latter would be the more expensive option, the attending doctor warned as I braced myself. “A low four-digit figure”, she replied when I asked for a more specific amount.
This time, the “oh” had a more relieved inflection; the number wasn’t as scary as I had anticipated. It’s not that a few thousand dollars was an insignificant amount, but between my insurance coverage and the money I had squirreled away over the years, I could confidently decide on the spot that I wanted my face patched up in a cosmetically better manner.
Accidents and unexpected events are part and parcel of life’s randomness, which is why being prepared is important as it can dramatically lessen the impact of adverse events we might face. It could be as minor as using a phone app to remind oneself about equipment needed for a day’s activities, a first-aid kit on standby when we engage in physical sports, or adequate financial preparedness when a rainy day does happen.
As part of my job, I talk a lot about the last point often with hypotheticals. I have come to realise that reality is a lot more, well, real than theory, and blessed enough to walk away with merely a somewhat ridiculous story to tell and a 3-inch scar on my forehead to prove it.
It is perhaps inevitable that something unexpected would eventually happen again, but what we do in preparation before then could dramatically change the tone of our “oh”.
Have you started preparing for the future? I’m not sure about you, dear reader, but now, every Tuesday, I practise running away from pillars so that I can avoid running into them in future.
This is an original article written by Seth Wee, Client Adviser at Providend, the first fee-only wealth advisory firm in Southeast Asia and a leading wealth advisory firm in Asia.
For more related resources, check out:
1. Our Non-linear Life Affects How We Plan for Our Wealth
2. A Stitch in Time Saves Nine – Do Both Annual Health & Financial Screening
3. Providend’s Money Wisdom Podcast S1E22: Making Money from Death
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