While probably 95% of the posts on this page will be devoted to investing/personal finance/economic updates and things of that nature, I also like to write about personal growth. Ways to improve yourself. Thoughts I’ve had or things I’ve learned that I want to share with you. That’s what this post is going to be about. So get comfortable.
A few weeks ago I went to Kentucky on a fishing trip with my Dad, Uncle, 14-year old nephew and 2 of his buddies. We went down to Eddy Creek Marina, which is situated on Lake Barkley. The fishing is first-class in the spring, and fall, but not in the middle of August. We hardly caught anything, but the trip wasn’t about that to me. Let me explain why this particular location is important. I’m almost 37 years old. I hadn’t been to Eddy Creek Marina since I was about my nephew’s age. Here’s what struck me as soon as I got there: almost immediately, a bunch of childhood memories came flooding back. It was a trip down memory lane. It never ceases to amaze me how powerful trips down memory lane can be. The sounds, the sights, and for purposes of this post, the smells.
As soon as I walked in, it instantly hit me that the place smelled EXACTLY the same as is did when I was a kid. The. Exact. Same. One funny thing about a rush of childhood memories is that you get nostalgic and that feeling tends to linger around for a few days. Or is that only me?
Either way, that’s not what I want to share with you today. I’ll spare you all the details but we didn’t catch many fish over the course of three days. What I did catch, were some lessons and some memories. I’ll bullet point them for you. (I’m a bullet point kinda guy. Maybe it’s the ADD, but it make it easy to organize my thoughts this way. So, don’t judge me.)
- On the treadmill that is life, it’s essential to step off sometimes and just stop. That is exactly what I did down there. The trip forced me to relax, chill-out, and simply exist for a few days. Damn, it was refreshing. I came up with the idea for this website while I was in Kentucky in fact. Look, we’re all busy. Work, spouses (if applicable), kids (if applicable), household upkeep, hobbies, meetings, social lives and countless other activities or responsibilities take up like 98% of our time. We’ve got to recharge our batteries from time to time otherwise we’re going to wake up in 30 years and wonder where the hell just happened.
- I know it’s terribly cliche, but it’s still true. Being out in nature, away from all the noise of daily life is energizing, but also relaxing. I’ve got four kids all under the age of 5. My house is louder than the deck of an air craft carrier most of the time. Being somewhere quiet is impossible for all intents and purposes. An escape into the bathroom is about the only break I get while the kids are awake. I live in a city of about 150,000 people as well, so there aren’t many places “out in nature” that I can retreat to. Peace and quiet are not two things I know very well these days. But, in Kentucky for 3 days it was a different story. Out on the lake it can be so serene. The bulk of the noise that I heard out on the boat were the calling of Osprey gliding overhead nervous because we were too close to their nests. I saw and heard more Osprey in three days than I had heard in 36 years of existence prior. It was amazing. That was probably my favorite part of the entire trip. Look, I get it. We’re addicted to Twitter, Facebook, Bleacher Report, fantasy football, the news etc. You name the app and we as a society cannot get enough. I’m no different. After experiencing nature for a few days it was a needed reminder that it can be a tremendous force of calm and tranquility. I, for one, need to experience it more often.
- The last thing that struck me about the trip was that, in retrospect, my knee-jerk response was to say no. I run a financial planning/investment management business, I have a lawn to mow, a car to wash, I had just signed up for a golf tournament, and, oh yeah, there’s those four kids. Looking back, why were my first thoughts things like: “I’m too busy.” “It’ll cost too much money.” “I can’t just leave my business like that.” “I haven’t fished in decades.” Something I wish for myself is be more of a “Yes-Man” in situations like that. Not in the sense of a corporate “Yes-Man” kissing the bosses butt all day long. Rather, a “Yes-Man” in sense that I will be open to more opportunities and experiences. Had I listened to that inner voice of pessimism, negativity and excuse making, I would have missed out on a really fun three days. I would have regretted it big time. Something I will take away from this trip is not to be so closed off to unique and valuable experiences.
My advice to you going into the Labor Day weekend is to simply take an opportunity to slow down, relax, and enjoy the world around us. It really is an amazing place.