Don’t Wait

Last night as Carrie and I were winding down from the weekend, I asked her the following question: what if we didn’t have to be doing this? I waited two seconds and then realized that I needed to clarify what I was asking. It’s amazing the number of ramifications one can think about in the matter of a few seconds.

And then I dove into a 3-minute diatribe on living.

We are born. We go to school. We graduate. We go to college. We graduate. We get our 1st real job. We meet someone. We settle down and get married. We have kids. We buy a house. We work. We work. We work. We retire. We die. Ugh.

This is obviously paraphrased as life’s transitions are not as smooth, nor as simple. As one who’s life has included his fair share of ‘adjustments’, I look at the path described above and a little part of me is jealous. Just being honest here. 

This pattern – the pattern of life, if you will, is something that so many of us do blindly. We do it because it’s what we saw and it’s what we know. It was what we watched play out as kids – mind you, in very different ways – a place our parents got to and a place for us to get to.

I’m reading this book from George Kinder on Life Planning – “Life Planning for You: How to Design & Deliver the Life of Your Dreams” – as I think this is the way our financial planning profession has to move. As someone who calls himself a futurist, I love thinking about these things and what outcomes can arise and how we can get to these very different places as well. I also think ‘life planning’ is a very important part of what we do and it is one aspect of a Financial Planner’s job that a computer won’t be assuming anytime soon. 

Very early George talks about how he wanted to live and work in Hawaii part of the year, so he committed to doing so and now he does. He was interested in London, so now he works in the City for 3-months a year. All while having his home-base in Massachusetts. It got me thinking. 

I realize not everyone would like to live somewhere else for 3-months out of the year, but then again, maybe there are a lot of people who really want to but just haven’t stopped long enough to realize that they do. The pattern (read: treadmill) of life moves forward regardless. 

I also realize that there are reasons this structure or pattern of life that most of us encounter on a daily basis is still in place. Institutions and expectations have been built around it, almost in a vicious circle-like way.

However, I can tell you that as technology continues to improve and advance, and the ability to work remotely in a seamless manner gets better and better, pursuing a life pattern that looks invariably different from what most have chosen, will begin to become more of a chosen path. 

Last week, Carrie and I ran into our neighbor Gary who was out walking Jackson – one of Hank’s neighborhood friends (Hank is our dog). Gary told us that this week, he and his wife Jane will be hopping back on the road in their new RV to head down to family in Texas. Their new RV is a beautiful thing. RVs have changed, let me tell you.

As both Hank and Jackson had tuckered each other out and were ready for us to head inside, Gary said something that hit both Carrie and I pretty hard. He said don’t wait. Don’t wait to “fill in the blank”. Gary is still in pretty good shape, but we knew what he was saying without any other details.

Don’t wait to do ‘your thing’, whatever that is.

It’s very easy to come up with excuses at this point. All of you know what I’m talking about. We all have them loaded as if we need them ‘at the ready’. It doesn’t make sense to simply start now. We need to wait, right? We should wait…

According to who? History?

We all watch the same pattern (loosely described above) play out? Why do we? Should we? Can we afford not to? 

**Three random thoughts: