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.