Reflections


I woke up early on Saturday – and sat with a cup of coffee in our backyard, and saw this beautiful reflection. Of course I had to take a photo 🙂

Friday was an incredibly busy day. I had to wake up at 4AM EST in NY to catch a flight home. I hadn’t slept much the night before due to some logistics issues getting back from US Open to my hotel . And I had some work to finish in the plane – so couldn’t sleep there either. US Open itself of course was great (thanks IBM for the great seats)  – and I won’t forget how authoritatively Serena Williams won the semifinal.

By the time my work day finished – it was already 7PM. I spent rest of my evening catching up on photos, videos and stories from the German Shepherd “world championship” that just kicked off in Germany . I have been meaning to go to that dog show for a decade now and haven’t found the time – which of course is a lousy excuse 🙂

So there I was – sitting with both my feet in water – watching the lovely reflection, and clicking photos. Outside vacation time, I don’t generally find myself reflecting all that much.

My big goal in life when I got out of college was to be able to live in a house that had a pool. There I lucked out – living in AZ, having a pool is not a luxury like it was in India when I grew up. My daughter , our dogs, and I enjoyed being in the pool a lot over the years. The last two years however – none of us had really jumped in often . Kiddo and the dogs were all in the house sleeping – so I left the coffee and the phone on the patio table and jumped right in and swam a few laps . Loved it – and my mood improved a few orders of magnitude 🙂

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I have a dear friend who owns an amazing collection of guitars, and he tells me that most weekends he watches the guitars in their fancy cases while listening to Clapton. He does not get around to playing himself. We live in a golf course community, and yet I have hit the greens at best twice in two years. We both make fun of each other every time we catchup – but neither of us have gotten better at doing what we promise each other. But there is always tomorrow to take care of that, right ? 🙂

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Which of course led me to think about what else I wanted to achieve in life . Next goal I had was traveling frequently in planes and staying in good hotels and eating at great restaurants . Thanks to becoming a consultant, I have done millions of miles of air travel and thousands of nights at hotels around the world. The truth is that I stopped enjoying it a while ago – at some point I just learned to do it on autopilot and learned to not let it get on my nerves too much. A lot of people I know want to travel when they retire – I want to travel as little as possible. All the miles I have will come handy to fly to watch cricket matches and dog shows 🙂

Two things always worry me about retirement . 1. My dad was pretty miserable after retirement – his work was a big part of his identity, and stopping one day was not a pleasant experience for him . I don’t think he is over it even today, and I have a strong feeling it will be worse for me when it is my turn 2. Like everyone else  I know, I too worry whether I can ever afford to retire in purely financial terms.

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After I got out of the pool and had a shower – I sat down with another cup of coffee to refresh all the “assets and liabilities” to see if I can ever retire. I found that I am still nowhere close to being able to retire despite the magic of compounding  – but it strangely gave me great pleasure to know exactly why that is, in quantitative terms. And it forced me to take some decisions on personal finance that I had put on the tail end of my to-do list . I could not help but smile – I have told my clients a million times that they will have a whole new perspective on their business if they clean up their data and looked at the total picture it shows. I think I need to hire a consultant too . On second thoughts – there is a high chance that it was the excess coffee that helped bring the clarity more than the data 🙂

I like to solve big hairy problems on the work front as much as the next person – but I have also come to realize that solving a lot of small problems along the way gets me closer to the big goals than taking one giant swing once in a while. This year, I put that principle to use in losing some weight. No more crash diets etc – I took it slow with small weekly goals. And 8 months into the year, I have lost about 25 lbs. At this rate, I might even get to shape and manage to handle a German shepherd in competition again 🙂

Enough with reflections. Time to get another coffee and drive to home depot. My little vegetable garden needs some work.

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