It’s interesting to me that the more we age, the more opportunities we seem to get to see the gifts of wisdom play out in our lives. If we are lucky, that wisdom is shared with us early in life through stories and various adages by cherished members of our family. Those members that have lived the most and walked the longest roads always seem to have the greatest wisdom to impart, and that was no different for me.
As I was growing into a young man, I had family members that shared some of those lessons; bits of wisdom that took decades to marinate and take hold. One such piece of that advice came on the day of my college graduation and can be summarized as follows; life isn’t as much about the destinations as it is in the journeys. I remember thinking it was a great piece of advice, but it lacked depth for me at that moment. However, the longer I get to live, work and play in this life, I find those words not only incredibly impactful, but I also note the intentional plurality of the phrase. It isn’t just one destination or one journey, there are several. I like the thought of these different journeys, and I am now mindful of a wonderful one we just concluded this past spring with our son Jackson.
It is a while back for many of us, but Jackson is moving on to high school. He has spent the last ten years at Little Woods School, and with his recent 8th-grade graduation, is ready to take on the challenge of what's next. Like many teenage boys, he is not much for sharing his thoughts or feelings despite our best attempts. If he were to share, I can only imagine his thinking isn't probably too much different than many of us at that time. Perhaps a mix of feelings that range from nervousness to excitement. As this summer now quickly drifts to those dog days of August, I know he is acutely aware of this new journey that is about to begin. What will this time be like for him? What adventures will he experience and what challenges will he face?
While I sit here and write about our son Jackson, it makes me mindful of my own journeys. As many of you can relate, I have merely blinked my eyes and I am knocking on the age of 50. How did that happen so fast? Wasn't I just 30? Time has a function that expedites its speed with age. With those years now turning over so fast, what journeys do I have out in front of me and what destinations do I wish to pursue? Funny, while my school days are certainly long over, I can have that same mix of nerves and excitement that Jackson is living out. I now believe those feelings to be not only normal but a requirement of life. To that, let's get back to the question: What journeys are out ahead for me, for you, and for those we walk alongside?
The longer I hone this craft of planning, of helping not only myself and my family navigate this life but also the lives of our clients, the more humble and retrospective I become. Maybe that has come with age, but I also like to believe it has come from walking alongside all of you. You have, and continue, to share with us the many different journeys and destinations you live out and pursue. Of course, some of these are more literal in the journeys and destinations of travel. Yet, as you all can relate, many others are much more subjective. Perhaps it is the journey of early retirement for you and all the excitement and planning that the "Go-Go" years can inspire. Alternatively, maybe you are contemplating a large transition like selling your business or making a move to another career or a whole different area of the country.
Lastly, perhaps the journey you are navigating now is one of a slower pace. One that is a time of reflection and gratitude. No matter where you find yourself, I think the most important part to remember is that journeys are always in play and the destinations are frequently changing. But if we can find real joy and contentment along the way, in the small hours and days of our journeys, maybe that is the best gift of all.
As we move through the remainder of this beautiful summer season, please know that is our wish for you, to enjoy your current journey and all that comes next. As always, if I or a member of our team may be of any help in starting or continuing this conversation and what it means in your life, please be sure to let us know.
Until next time, here’s to the pursuit of living a better life!