Recently we met with a gentleman (we will call him Arthur) who was looking for some help with his approaching retirement. This is not anything new to us. It is exciting for us to see a person approaching this milestone, but they may be approaching it with fear and trepidation. Helping people transition from a lifestyle of working full time to one in which work is optional is deeply rewarding. This represents a lifetime of accomplishment and hopefully the discipline of self-sacrifice for their future self. Some people are good at planning while others approach their late fifties suddenly realizing they may want to retire at some point, but without much forethought.
Arthur managed to do ok with accumulating a modest amount but had many questions. Over the course of the one hour visit we learned much about his life; life just seemed to happen to him rather than him living a life of intention and purpose. I thought of a boat at sea with no rudder, no motor and drifting wherever the prevailing winds shifted it.
After each meeting Tammy and I usually debrief and discuss whether we can help or add value; therefore, we were in Tammy’s office shortly after Arthur left and she told me she had wanted to cry after hearing his story. She said, “Brian, that was so sad. I mean, when life gives you lemons you don’t have to keep sucking on them.” I laughed out loud at that thought. I told her it was a brilliant notion and that I would share it with you.
You probably know people who seem to be chronic lemon suckers. You can tell them by their sour expression and bitter attitude. My counsel here is that when you sense a lemon coming towards you, make positive plans for how you are going to use it. Are you going to squeeze the juice out of it and add sugar to make a refreshing drink? Or are you going to slice it and add it to your glass of water? Or perhaps, you will zest the peel and make a delicious cake?
I have told my children over the years when they have encountered heartache or hardship that how they respond to it will make all the difference. I would tell them that it is ok to feel badly about what is happening. It is ok to cry and be down, but this is not where you live. You need to move on. I would say sorrow or grief can provide a cozy blanket of comfort in which they may want to warm themselves, but not to get too comfortable. They are only visiting this place and they are not to take up residency in it. Once you see yourself as a victim you will likely never be victorious but decline further and further, consuming more and more lemons.
One of the reasons we chose the name Intentional Wealth Advisors for our firm is because we want to help inspire our clients to live lives with intention. To live on purpose. Sadly, for most people, their primary objective is to arrive at the end of their life as safely as possible. Life is fleeting. Get after it. If you need any lemon recipes, let us know. Just don’t suck on them.