It’s really no secret. I’m not a young man anymore. I’m not even exactly sure when I first began to notice, the changes happened so gradually. Almost undetectable to me as each year passed.
As incredible as it may seem, I think my first serious revelation of my advancing mortality was in my late forties. It was then I began, albeit reluctantly, to accept the fact that I no longer had the stamina or agility of my days on the wrestling team back in school. The next occurred a few years later, during one of Deb and my annual pilgrimages to Newport. You see, as a younger man I’d thought nothing of spending the entire day surfing those 65 degree waters. But no longer. Now approaching 60, I’m all too aware I’m more aptly suited to sitting on the sand in the warm sun, doing curls with a Corona.
I’m growing old. And that’s okay. I’m content with my life and still filled with excitement for what the future holds.
It’s also no secret. Many across the country lost significant retirement assets in 2008 and early 2009. And in the aftermath, some lost jobs, homes, or both. For those affected, events like these can be devastating. For some, crippling, emotionally and financially. Depending on your age and personal experience with the consequences of the recent economy, you may be one who finds the idea of contentment somewhat of a foreign concept, much less hold any enthusiasm for what’s to come.
From a purely clinical perspective, I think it’s important to underscore that the world we live in is simply not perfect, or fair. But then, it never has been. And life seems to throw challenges at us, roadblocks and hurdles at every turn. But then, it always has. The nagging question, then, is how do some always seem to rise above the fray and prosper? Maybe a good place to start is with a little reflection.
As my years have advanced, I’ve discovered that a trove of life experience, coupled with a sobering awareness that the number of years on loan to me are distinctly finite, seems to kindle a certain inclination to contemplate my past more often than I did in my youth. Now there may be those who might suspect that to be an advance toward attaining wisdom, but I have no such grand illusion. For me, reflection simply helps me put things into perspective, and refocus.
By my experience, gaining some perspective on the mistakes and failures of my past, even those circumstances over which I have no control, enables me to more objectively acknowledge them, set them aside, and more clearly focus on replicating those actions and decisions that resulted in success. In doing so, I’ve found the probability of multiplying the latter is exponentially increased. Thomas Edison illustrated my point quite eloquently when he shared his perspective on his own life’s work: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
As I reflect a bit further, it also occurs to me that every successful person I’ve ever known began their journey with a vision. What success would look like for them. And you know, not one of them ever accomplished that vision without trial, failure, and circumstances they could not control. As I grow older, it’s become unquestionably clear to me that each made time for some reflection, because each quickly adjusted and returned their eye back to the road ahead. They remained committed. They were unwavering. And I’d argue the perspective they gained as a result led them to the same conclusion. Like Edison, they’d found a lot of ways that didn’t work. But they had not failed. They would not stop striving for that vision. And they never gave up.
I imagine all of us had a vision for our life when we were young, didn’t we? Some would call them dreams. And I know from experience the demands of daily life, those challenges and hurdles life throws our way, sure can cause that vision to become blurred.
If that’s how you’re feeling, the million dollar question is how determined are you to rise above the fray and prosper? I’d suggest a good place to start is with a little reflection, and maybe a seasoned financial planner to help put things back into perspective.
Timothy J. Sullivan, Sr.
President, DSA Financial Group, Inc.
DSA Financial Group, Inc. 281-823-5171 www.DSAfinancialgroup.com
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