I have always been a hard worker. While my co-workers took time off work to vacation, I saved my days off and my money, too. I figured that there would always be time for vacation when I was comfortably retired.

Life, though, had something different in store for me. Last week, I was sent concerning results from a brain scan. As I read over the results, instant panic and fear overwhelmed me. It didn’t make sense. I cried more than I ever have.

As I waited impatiently for my in-person appointment with the neurologist–who told me to bring a loved one–I started doing my own research. I anxiously went online and read articles and stories of others in my shoes. It made me feel completely defeated. I will never forget what my doctor friend told me during that time. “Start working on your bucket list,” he said, “and do all the things you’ve wanted to do.”

Naturally, these life events caused a bit of a perspective change for me. I used to frown at my co-workers who took off from work for a couple of months to travel or visit long-lost friends. I waited, saved that money, and kept on working hard. Now that I’m awaiting the official diagnosis from my neurologist, only in my early 50s, I realize that I made the wrong decision. 

How often do we get so wrapped up in our careers that we don’t have time to focus on what really matters? We work long hours, make sacrifices, miss family events, we save our money, all so we can enjoy our “Golden Years.”  But what if our “golden years” turn out to not be so golden?  What then? Few things in life hurt more than regret.

If I could have do-overs of my life, I would have taken more time away from work earlier in my career to spend more time with family. I would do some of the things I originally planned to do only once I was fully retired. I would try to remember that though our professional lives and careers are important, they don’t always have to be our first priority. Roy T. Bennett said it best: “Do not set aside your happiness. Do not wait to be happy in the future. The best time to be happy is always now.”

Nancy Pearce
Financial Center Manager IV, Vice President, Zions Bank

Nancy Pearce is responsible for and oversees all of the operations at her Zions Bank retail branch.  She is also responsible for the coaching, development of her team members and business lending.  Prior to Zions she worked for Wells Fargo Bank for 11 years. She has an associate’s degree from LDS Business College and took additional classes in psychology at Salt Lake Community College and the University of Utah. In her free time she loves to spend time with her children, spend time outdoors, work in the yard, hike, boating, tubing, skiing etc. She also loves to travel when she can.

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