What just happened? Is it still summer? I remember the summer days. I remember seeing them through my car window, and out of this office window. The gas station was full of summery people filling their tanks, buying their drinks and ice. The constant rhythmic bang of ice bags being thrown against the ground, that’s the base-line of my summer now ended. What a joy it was, however, to wake up to sunshine day in and day out, to feel no particular rush to enjoy the weather because more of it was to come. Next week, I’ll have time. Once this closing is behind me and that inspection is over, then I’ll get out and enjoy this summer. That’s what I told myself. Again and again. And then, again. Now, I’m sitting here looking out this window and I realize there’s not much more left even though my summer ended before it began.
Was it worth it? Is my decision to trade most of these days for some form of monetary gain a reasonable trade? Am I being smart and prudent, making this hay while the sun shines, or am I just stuck in the deepest of ruts where I see summer above me but can’t participate? When I was younger I’d use this page to evangelize about the mystery of summer that most people didn’t even understand. I’d admonish the summer ignorers and praise the revelers. I’d pretend to be one of the latter, and for some time, I was. I’d run out to boat when time allowed, just for the sake of doing it. I wanted to bob in the middle of the lake, to soak in that summer sun, to feel the motion of the waves and have it calm my anxious mind. What a time that was, but it feels to me to be decidedly in my rear view mirror.
Is it temporarily in my rear view? Will I find a way back to that place, back to the only place where I feel peace? Or will I behave as those that I once mocked, forever stuck on this wheel unable to step off? How can you stop running when you’ve been so trained to run until there’s no path left? I want to think there’s a switch that I can just toggle, but I’m afraid today that there isn’t. I’m afraid I understand why people live as though there will always be a tomorrow. I’m afraid I’ve finally figured it out, and I really hate what I now know. It’s impossible to take off today when you’re spending the day trying to make tomorrow better. What an incredibly depressing thing it is to realize that’s the reason we trade those perfect summer days for a small pocketful of cash.
Times were, I’d end a morning post like this by promising that I’m going to head out on the boat. Today, I can do no such thing. The market is hot, I have $40M in pending contracts to tend to, and no matter how many deadlines pass or hurdles I clear, there is always another one coming tomorrow, or next week, or the week after. Forward looking, that’s the way to success. Even as I write this I feel conflicted. Who doesn’t work hard, and who doesn’t trade today for a better tomorrow? This is what everyone does. The successful people you admire, this is how they live. They defer gratification so that the future gratification is increased. This is how the world works. Suck it up, you entitled, spoiled jerk. You’re sad that you missed some nice days on a boat while busily closing more deals that anyone else? You’re upset that you might have worked your way to the absolute pinnacle of residential real estate sales? These are the questions I ask myself, and they are all terrific questions. But sometimes, you need to sit on a bobbing boat under a bright sky during the fleeting warmth of a late summer afternoon because one of these days there won’t be another tomorrow.