Saturday, January 11, 2014

Five Lessons Learned in 2013

Here we are in a new year. I will turn 68 years of age in 2014. You would think that lessons in life would be harder to come by. Not so, they occur every day. It is hard to limit this list of lessons to just 5. I did 10 last year and I admit that reading that post put me to sleep.

LESSON ONE: Stay on Top of your Business

I have been practicing real estate now for 11 years going into my 12th. I have just completed the worst year in my personal history. I had a 30 year career with DuPont and was very successful. The first ten years of practicing real estate were more than I could have hoped for. I sold more than $15 million in that time frame. I earned some significant extra pay in those years. Now I come to the conclusion of a dismal year. I have thought about it and I conclude that you must stay on top of your business. Some of the downturn is just pure serendipity. However, some of it is my fault. The truth is that I played too hard in 2012 and others who were more hungry and more proactive took my share of the business. The solution? Get back on top by planning, communicating and implementing. I will turn it around. The old saw " If it is to be, it is up to me !" lives right here.

LESSON TWO: Your doc does not always know. You know your body better than he or she.

I worked within the medical industry for thirty years. I interacted with many physicians. I learned one important lesson about all of them. They are human. In saying that, I am expressing the fact that they are fallible, lazy, disinterested and progammable. I use this one example. I swallowed Pravachol for probably ten years. I am smart enough to know that I need to be on a lipid lowering modality for the rest of my life. I developed a pain in my collar bone area. I thought it to be unusual and I attributed it to straining the muscles there picking up my cherubic, but fat little grand children. On a visit to my physician of 15 years, I expressed to him that I was having neck pain. I also told him that I thought it was musculo-skeletal and most likely caused by the Pravachol. Afterall that is listed in the prescribing information as a common side effect. All he heard was neck pain and picking up fat little grand children. He wanted to give me a nuclear stress test immediately. I told him no way that was happening. All I needed was to change statins or get off of them totally. He would not hear of it. Solution? I took myself off of Pravachol and switched to another statin. Result? The pain went away competely. I reported this to him on a subsequent visit. Result? He still wanted to get me into his cardiologist buddy's nuclear stress clinic and most likely into their cath lab. Result? I got me a new doc and I have been happy as a clam ever since. I also might add, very well cared for as a result of the change.

LESSON THREE:  Jail ain't cool.

I refer to an earlier post to this BLOG about the jury duty I served back in January 2013. I helped send a graduate teaching assistant with a Master's Degree on his way to a PhD to jail for more than 5 years. His crime was soliciting a minor child for sex using the internet via computer. The evidence against him was just overwhelming. I saw him, his girl friend and his mother hang their heads and cry uncontrollably when the sentence was pronounced. The thought that experience left in my mind was that no crime is worth the risk of ending up in jail. Jail ain't cool.


My wife and I have perfomed a labor of love for the last three years of our life. That is giving child care to our little grand daughter while our son and daughter-in-law worked. She showed up on her 7th week of life at 6:30 AM and went home at 4:30 PM until she was almost three. We listened to her enunciate her first words. We watched her take her first steps. We watched her grow more beautiful every day. She loved us and we loved her back in geometric proportions. One day our son announced that he was taking a job in a city 400 miles to the south of us. The process to accomplish that move took two months. We put her into a car and delivered her to her new home. We then drove home without her. That was almost 6 weeks ago. Our hearts are still tender from the separation. Sure we have 6 other grand children but this one was special because of the nurturing we provided her. She has a wonderful mother and father. Our hearts are starting to heal a bit because we are busy with life. We have Face timed with her numerous times. Her parents update us almost every day with pictures and videos. She is now in day care. From all indications a good one. We are starting to believe that we will survive the change. The lesson is re-learned. Change is constant and sometimes very, very difficult.

LESSON FIVE:  Death is a certainty.

A morbid lesson re-learned. I suppose that it is a matter of chronologic progression that you have more and more friends and acquaintaces and family leave you behind and go with God. This past year I helped bury a dear friend of 40 years of age who had very special needs. His parents grieve still and we all miss him. I despise the pain and hurt that his parents feel especially. I helped memorialize a dear friend of 30 years who was 82 who had been the victim of Alzheimers. Her death was a blessing most especially to her. Yet those that are left behind grieve her and miss her. We lost a dear friend and neighbor. He was my friend of many years but he adored our little grand daughter, Bellamy, I am pretty sure more than me. I saw and spoke with him on a Friday. He brought some satsumas to his little friend, Bellamy. He, knowing that Bellamy was moving, queried me as to what was he going to do when Bellamy left. And then, as fate would have it, he died the following Monday of a cardiovascular event. He was 79 and lived a most wonderful life. However, as is always the case we who stay behind in this fallen world struggle on without him and miss him. I also have dear friends whose son, 37, put a pistol in his mouth and ended his own life. He left his wife and a 3 month old baby. The sadness of that event is indescribable. I also sat across a table and negotiated a business deal with a very nice man who I had not ever known. I could tell he was ill. I would not ever begin to think that he would die in sight of two months. Annette Funicello left us this past year. I BLOGGED about that earlier. The realization is that life is very fragile. We live moment to moment. We should do our very best to control our interaction with others because of that fact. Let kindness and patience prevail in all that we do.