Prior to Getting Cancer, I Had Ambitions of Becoming a Managing Director.

These past nine years have been really good, probably better than if I hadn’t had cancer. Different things became a priority: spending time together rather than worrying about having a good job or thinking you need a big house.

Here’s a long article in the Guardian about how the terminally ill spend their time. They’ve reassessed, retooled, changed their priorities.

I’ve got limited time, so I’d rather be doing things with family and friends, and having a positive impact on the world around me. I’m not in the office wearing a shirt and tie any more.


I wish I had gone out more with my friends. I wish I had gone to parties and stayed out late. Living life free-spirited is something I feel I missed out on, and I regret that I didn’t take advantage of that when I was younger. Life is short and you should live it how you want, regardless of what people think. Don’t hold back. Say what you want to say and do what you want to do.


Prior to getting cancer, I had ambitions of becoming a managing director or CEO; I wanted to achieve something in my career. Within hours of the diagnosis, that disappeared. I don’t care for work any more

When those close to the end tell us these things, what they’re really saying is: “don’t leave it too late. Think about what’s important and do it. Live while you still can.”

That’s why they write it down or say it out loud. They’re not navel gazing. They’re blowing the whistle. They’re bringing us a message from the future.

But people so rarely listen. Even these people, the dying, didn’t listen.

The truth is, you’re mortal. You don’t need a cancer diagnosis to tell you you’re dying. The cancer patients in the article might even outlive you: you could get hit by a drunk driver on your way to return an ill-fitting shirt to Primark. A piece of masonry might fall on your head.

As one future corpse to another, I’m telling you now: don’t wait. Fuck this crap! Work less, take it easy, see some of the world, be with your loved ones, look at art, help others, eat well, get laid, get off your computer, be grateful, forget about Elon Musk, ignore the crap that doesn’t matter. Take your socks off and feel the grass beneath your feet. Look at the moon and stars and think wow, we’re really on a planet. Marvel at your breath in the cold night air. Remember the faces of your grandparents.


And most importantly of all, read New Escapologist.


Robert Wringham is the editor of New Escapologist. He also writes books and articles. Read more at

One Response to “Prior to Getting Cancer, I Had Ambitions of Becoming a Managing Director.”

  1. Su says:

    Coming to terms with my mortality has added depth and meaning to my life.

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