An American friend was in Paris for a couple of days last week. He’s an avid outdoorsman. (I am an avid ‘cafe-doorsman’, sitting near the side door of the Saint Regis most mornings as the city wakes up.)
He’s in his mid-60s now, working on a 4th or 5th investment/startup, throwing some cash and much expertise at an entrepreneurial rookie who’s launching a news/commentary website. Over coffee, we discussed other friends/colleagues who have opted for retirement or reduced hours.
‘That’s not me,’ he said, shaking his head. I laughed, mentioning sarcastically that he was now on the short list of nominees for the 2018 Captain Obvious Award. He took the jibe with a smile.
‘A mountain is the only thing you come down from. Everything else, you never summit.’
I mulled that comment over for a moment, then filed it away. I’d always heard the word ‘summit’ referred to as a mountain peak, a noun. This usage was ‘the act of completion or final accomplishment’ as best I could determine. To ‘summit’ certainly wasn’t him. His life reflected a pattern of finding an opportunity, investing in it, maximizing it, and then moving on to the next adventure. There was never a sense of him sitting on his (considerable) laurels.
Yes, everyone makes their own choices about work, leisure, and retirement. But whatever path we’re on, I think it’s still best to recommend that all of us, whatever our situation…Never Summit.
6 thoughts on “Never Summit”
I was fortunate to be able to retire at 43. After five years of loafing about and exploring the new states we moved to, I started a little online enterprise to have something to do. I’ve been threatening to retire again for the past few years but once again, decided to go another year.
I always remember something my grandmother (who ran her school until she was 80) said, “You need a reason to get out of bed each morning.” She stayed active socially and traveled until her last couple years and passed away at a little over 101 after what we call, “A life well lived.” My mother, her daughter, is 90 and is very socially active and travels quite a bit. She’s slowing down but has a reason to get up each morning. I’m just a kid of 68. I have some good examples to follow.
Thank you for sharing, Chris. Great legacy. – BGT
Great comments Chris and great article Byron. My family are very similar – even when they retire they don’t really and are often busier than ever. They don’t seem to even start getting older until they are over 80 either!
Thanks, Amanda. Sounds like you’ve hit the jackpot with a great family. – BGT
I love this quote so much I just wrote it at the top of my monthly planner page. It perfectly sums up my core philosophy in regard to myself: build sustainable systems to achieve and maintain goals over the long term; always keep learning, growing, improving myself (hopefully thereby improving the lives of those around me) — always keep building more to give, so to speak. (I love the term “avid ‘cafe-doorsman,'” as well!)
Thank you so much for sharing, Byron — and for your wonderful books. I know little about my family but can’t be what you’d call “Old Money.” Your work has helped me immensely. Looking forward to the next book!
Thank you, Jess. Keep up the good work! – BGT