I was in Colorado recently with my family, on our first vacation together since the birth of our daughter last May. I had some time to reflect and think about appreciating the people in my life and that tomorrow is never promised to any of us. We’ll take a look at that in this week’s Inside Look at Building Towards Wealth.
The vacation we found ourselves on was to visit my in-laws in Colorado. They live on a quiet plot of land along the Arkansas River just about 45 minutes south of Colorado Springs. It’s the type of place that if you sit out there early in the morning, and listen to the river burble by, you get to thinking about what is important in life.
We had made our way, with two children, across the country. I got to watch my two children go on their first airplane flight and it was just wonderful watching my three-year-old and the amazement that he had at everything. It was heart-melting watching my wife entertain our daughter.
Once we got through the craziness of taking two small children through the airport and dealing with the world of COVID. I got to sit there and reflect every day about how great it was to watch them play with their grandparents. I thought back a little bit to my own father as this year will be 10 years since he passed away.
As I grew up, it wasn’t an easy relationship with my dad, he was the stricter of my parents, my mom the loving doting mother, my father the gruff Chicago police officer. I certainly didn’t appreciate my dad then. It is funny how so many of his words have stuck with me through the years though.
While I did get to see him play with my now 24-year-old daughter when she was little, I wasn’t in the right place in my life to really appreciate it. I was a parent in my early 20s and could barely keep my head above water.
As I sat there and thought about how great it was to watch my son play on the tractor with his grandpa, it filled me with happiness and sadness in equal parts. It made me wish that my dad was still here so he could play with my young children.
Then I brought myself to appreciate the moment where I was, in this beautiful area of Colorado, watching my two small children play with their grandparents and trying to enjoy every single minute of it. Time spent throwing rocks in the river and watching my daughter waddle around their house trying to pull everything off of their shelves. Watching my son build houses out of Legos with his grandpa and having a blast as we all picked up silly instruments (a maraca, dulcimer, and a Tibetan singing bowl were involved) and had an impromptu family jam session.
I did my best to soak in every moment. Knowing that none of these things are forever and that we need to seize the moment, live more fully, enjoy the ones that we love, and tell them how much they mean to us.
People often think my profession is about trying to tell people to not live their lives today and to only save for the future. That their financial advisors are the department of no. I do my best to try and make that not the case.
I think back to one of my clients who, this past year, mentioned that they were fed up with the fact that their children couldn’t go back to school in person. They could be anywhere if school was only going to be virtual and how they wish they could live out their future dream of buying a boat and sailing around the Caribbean with them.
I was able to encourage them to do just that. To seize the day and, while their children were young, take the chance. Now they have the memories and stories forever.
While it might not have been a purely rational thing to do it certainly was reasonable. I don’t know that there was anything I was prouder of accomplishing in my career in the past year.
While I would never tell anyone to not look to the future and plan appropriately. I think appropriate planning actually allows us to live more fully in the day and enjoy the people and the places and the experiences around us, and live more fully in the moment.
I hope you’ll take some time this week to tell the people that mean a lot to you that they do.