Wow. Doing the bills this morning and realized it’s almost June. 2015 is almost half gone. It seems like just a few days ago I was grinding my teeth, waiting impatiently for nice weather to replace a long, dreary winter. I remember when I was a kid… summer vacation seemed like forever – “eternal summer beneath endless sky”. At some point – I don’t remember exactly when – I suddenly realized it wasn’t really… it was only a few weeks. A little later those few weeks became two months. Now it’s two mortgage payments and clicks by like the broken white line on a long straight interstate at highway speed. Click, click, click… June, July, August… How the heck do you slow it down?! This is LIFE running through my fingers like sand at the beach… and more of it is on the shore than remains in my hands. I read something once that said it’s a matter of new vs. routine. When you’re young, everything is new and you’re intellectually engaged, so time goes slowly. Once you get to the ‘been there, done that’ stage, you spend more time on auto-pilot. It’s like you live life in a trance and just wake up occasionally to go “holy *&^%, I’m 40 this year!” (or fill in the number with a figure more appropriate to your particular situation. Me, I’d love to roll the odometer back to 40…) Somehow, we get into these routines – up, shower, breakfast, work, home, dinner, sleep. Lather, rinse, repeat. We burn up huge chunks of precious, irreplaceable LIFE chasing a paycheck so we can buy stuff we won’t have time to enjoy. Who wrote this script? And why do so many of us follow it blindly like sheep?
It reminds me of a story you’ve probably heard about a Harvard MBA who slowed down enough for a vacation in Mexico. He watched as a small boat pulled up to the dock and asked the fisherman about his catch. “How long did it take you to catch them?” he asked. “Oh, a few hours,” replied the fisherman. “Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” asked the MBA. “But I have enough to feed my family.” responded the fisherman. Scowling, the MBA asked “What do you do with the rest of your time? “Smiling, the fisherman responded, “I sleep late, play with my children, sometimes take siesta in the afternoon. In the evenings I go into the village to visit with my friends. We eat, drink, laugh, sing and enjoy some music…” With an air of smug superiority, the MBA replied “Well let me give you some advice, my friend – I’m a Harvard MBA, and I can help you. First, you’re wasting a lot of time. You should start by working longer hours and more days. Then, sell the extra fish you catch. Use the money you make to buy another boat and hire another fisherman. After that, you can buy a third boat, then a fourth, and so on, until you have your own fleet of fishing boats. Eventually, you’ll be able to sell your fish directly to the processor or even open your own cannery. The goal is to control the whole chain – product, processing and distribution. Then you can leave this village and move to Mexico City, or even LA or New York City, and grow your business empire even further. When the time is right, you could sell your company stock and become very rich. You could be a billionaire.” The fisherman looked puzzled and asked “And then what, señor? What would I do with all that money?” The Harvard grad responded:
“Well, if you work really hard and sacrifice a few decades of your life, maybe by the time you’re 55 you could retire. You could move to a quiet coastal fishing village like this one. You could sleep late, play with your grandchildren, sometimes take siesta in the afternoons… In the evenings you could go into the village to visit your friends, eat, drink sing and enjoy some music…”