The best "advice"
18 May 2016
The best "advice"
Early on we shared a boat with a good friend and sailed about six months a year (he sailed the other six). Read earlier post "back story" for the details.
Here's the story.
One afternoon I found myself sitting on a remote beach, Scarlett anchored just offshore with a Nordhavn 60' anchored nearby. We were the only two. We had brought the dinghy in for some afternoon exploring and a swim. Soon after we arrived the Nordhavn launched their tender (we had a dinghy, they had a tender) and they headed to our beach.
I've forgotten the man's name but this scene played out many times over the years. We'd say hello and each couple would begin to tell their story. He would be late 50's to early 60's. Second marriage and they were "living the dream". Where from, where going, etc. After a few minutes the ladies would walk off to chat and we would sit down in the shade and talk a bit more.
The next question would be "what do you do?" I'm sure you've been there and you have your story. I'd share ours. Given our tender ages there was some genuine interest in how we managed to get there and be able to spend several months "living the dream". We would then proceed to share stories of business and finances and experiences.
At some point in the conversation I would ask my question, what's your best advice? Being 30 years old on a beach with a man who has led his life is such an opportunity. On more than one occasion the advice would be similar to the advice the man from the 60' Nordhavn gave.
Paul, see that boat there and my beautiful wife?
I would trade it all to have my family. You see Paul I worked 24/7 for twenty years to build my business. We were wildly successful. I provided every material want my family needed, all except one........me. Time went by, divorce, estrangement from my children and now grandchildren.
Paul, if you can, and it seems you might be able to, take the years your children are growing up and spend it with them.
That was the advice and this happened on more than one occasion.
Those days of childless wandering did come to a close. Scarlett was sold and we settled into life in Anchorage Alaska. We continued to grow our business, built a house, had our first daughter in 1998. Our second arrived in 2001.
Those words stuck with me...............................
One day I came home from another 14 hour day to find my lovely wife sitting in our "playroom" staring at the world map (that map sits behind me right now 15 years later). We had a conversation about "what we were doing and what we could do". That advice, "take the years your children are growing up and spend it with them." was ringing in my head.
We then made the worst financial decision of our lives.
Fifteen years later, thousands of ocean miles, residents of a new country, we still eat and travel and pay taxes. Are we as "wealthy" as we could have been? Not by a long shot, but I'm convinced if we stayed on the track we were on and failed to heed that wise advice, I would have ended up sitting on a beach giving advice to a young man to, if at all possible, "take those precious years that your family is growing up and spend it with them."
Here's the quote I read just last night from Seneca:
"He who needs riches least, enjoys riches most"
Side note, the other "best advice" I ever had with respect to buying a catamaran was "buy as much waterline as you can afford." That's a freebie :-)