Today is my 40th birthday. The ‘BIG 4-0’ is what they called it when I was growing up, although today that level of intensity seems to have been pushed back a decade. Nevertheless, it feels like a big milestone and seems an opportune time to take stock of my accomplishments so far and to determine where I want to go from here.
In many ways, I’ve already accomplished everything I set out to do. The seeds are planted, and now I’m simply tending to the garden. I have two beautiful, healthy children and the perfect partner to help me raise them. I have found meaningful ways to be involved in my local community and in my profession globally through civic and volunteer work. I have maintained strong, multi-decade relationships with my closest friends despite our geographic distance. My health is excellent and I have very few aches or pains in my body.
After a rough start and many years of struggle, I feel confident that my career will be a success. I have the privilege of serving as the primary advisor for 65 families, and my work is evolving to assist colleagues and younger advisors in working with high net worth clients. I am lucky to have found a firm that allows me to be my true self and publish my thoughts on this blog and in the media.
I am content with myself and with the life I’ve created. If tomorrow is my last day on Earth, I am happy.
But I’d rather stick around for more. In other ways, I am just getting started.
My children are young and just entering what a friend calls – The Golden Years – those years between baby and teenager. I can’t wait to spend the Golden Years reliving childhood through their eyes. They have so much to learn, see, and experience. Sports, music, travel, dance, art, Disney, skiing, whatever, sign me up. I’m all in. (except for competition cheerleading, sorry Anne, not my thing).
Our firm is experiencing a period of tremendous growth, and we are just getting started. We are actively looking to hire at least five new employees in the first quarter alone. Our phones and emails are jammed with inquiries from clients interested in hiring us. I’ve been here three and half years. We’ve grown from 20 to almost 50 people. Everyone who works here is a superstar in their own specialty – from tax planning to compliance, operations, to video production. We are hyperfocused on building the best wealth management firm in existence. And the best part? We get to choose which clients we want to work with. We choose the nice ones, the ones who ask great questions and challenge us, and those who share our intellectual curiosity. I’m so excited to see what we will accomplish next year.
There are so many books I want to read, but I don’t have the time. Perhaps the Golden Years will also afford me more time to read. If not, my retirement plan is to move to a farm and read books, so I may have to wait a while.
I’ve heard that the forties are the old age of youth and the fifties are the youth of old age. In that vein, I plan to be active this decade. I will lean into my physical yoga practice to see how strong I can get. I’ll stop putting off ski trips for future seasons. Now is the time for me to be on the mountain, while my knees still feel good.
Here are the greatest pearls of wisdom I’ve learned along the way:
– Optimism > Pessimism – making this shift literally changed the trajectory of my career.
– If you wait until you’re able to ‘afford’ children, you’ll never have them. Go for it, if you know you want them.
– The only person truly looking out for you is you. Don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself.
– Never burn a bridge, if you can avoid it.
– You have two ears and one mouth. Use them in that ratio.
– Tact is one of the most underrated skills you can possess.
– If you don’t have anything nice to say, bless their heart.
And just like that, I close this chapter on my 30’s, the best decade of my life so far. It went by in the blink of an eye, even though many days were long and hard. I have much to be thankful for and much to celebrate. It is both a time of reflection and a time of great anticipation. Onward and upward!