A Turning Point

Thursday, February 7, 2002
Suburbia, California 


"76% of Americans don't know 
if they have enough for retirement." 
~ John Hancock Insurance commercial

Yesterday, our office had the first of our quarterly meetings for 2002. It was not only worth holding and attending, seeing everyone in attendance was great! (Our last two all-office gatherings have had a person or two missing.)

Since participation in the retirement fund is strictly voluntary, benefiting the participants while costing the office, a requirement for its participation is voluntary attendance at the quarterly meetings.  No presence, no participation.  Simple as that. 

It appears from the perfect attendance, that none of us want to be BABOONS (baby boomers with no savings), bag ladies or men, or forever SITCOMS (single income, two (or more) children, oppressive mortgage).

Cia, our mighty and wise office manager, was in charge of the meeting, and everything went smoothly and on a timely fashion. 

The agenda included four topics:  

  • Cia:  Maximizing office efficiency and opportunities for growth, as well general office concerns.

  • Jus:  Compliance with standards.

  • Me:  Working as a team to afford and maintain a successfully funded retirement plan.

  • Jenn, Lar, Jus and Me:  Reviewing our individual client education, Q&A, materials.

Now that may all sound pretty boring, but believe it or not, it wasn't.  I was very interested to hear the different presentations, as well as listen to the expressed cohesiveness of our ideas on ethical issues and the importance of client education.  

After the meeting, Jenn poked her head into my office, saying: ""I know you haven't had lunch, so I won't take up any of your time, I just wanted to say thank you for what you're doing for me and to say "Hi."  I know you haven't had a chance to have lunch yet, and there's not much time left for you to get one, so may I arrange to get together during one of your administrative hours?"

"Sure, and I can't wait to see you, again," I said, and meant it with all my heart.

I have dearly missed working with Jenn as we once did.  Since her boys' arrivals, we've been working different days.  While she was busy tending to her newborn, we were greatly missing her. Now that she's back, we appreciate her, more than ever.  

Absence, in this case, made our hearts grow fonder.

I miss Jenn's humble, gentle ways, her innate sweetness and softness, and the times we'd spend together problem-solving, and consulting with each other.  I miss her professionalism, our camaraderie, and our mentor-mentee relationship.

When in Jenn's calming presence,  I feel at ease and comfortable.   She possesses a grateful heart, and she is a generously giving person.  She doesn't have "edges," nor is she mopey or moody.  Easygoing and with a happy disposition, Jenn is easy to be with, as there is no tension, undercurrents, mixed messages, passive-aggressive comments and revealing body language. I do not have to be on my guard. 

Most of all, I appreciate that she is considerate enough not to subject me to monku-ing. She knows I get enough of that, as it is the nature of my job to put out fires, smooth ruffled feathers, bail the "greenies" out of trouble, and deal with the most difficult cases.  These "duties" come with seniority. Considerate, she doesn't give me guff, nor does she dump reactive thoughts on my lap. 

As it was, a black-and-white, high contrast situation presented itself the moment she left, and I barely managed to get lunch, downing only half my sandwich and a cup of coffee before running off to meet the next client.

I am reminded of every smart person's need to comply with basic rules: 

  • "Surround yourself with good, positive people." 

  • Like attracts like.  

  • 'Tis not wise to kill the goose who lays the golden egg or bite the hand that feeds you.

In reflection, I believe this situation became a turning point, and I am grateful for it, as I feel like I am seeing the situation with clarity and I am ready to gracefully disengage.

"Life love to be taken by the lapel and told,
"I'm with you, kid. Let's go."
~ Maya Angelou

Someone once asked me if I miss having kids.  I had to honestly say, "No."   Over the last 18 years, many of the "kids" that come to our office have become in many, many ways, "my kids."

I am completely satisfied.  "My kids" have done well in life, and after all these years, we have regularly visited, building "forever, happy heart" bonds. 

One of them came in today.  I've known Kary* since she was a kid, and I am so proud of her.  Like me, she is the middle child. And like me, the middle daughter of three daughters.  That birth position is a challenging one, but it has ultimately benefited her. 

She is now Dr. Kary.  And these days, she takes care of "her kids."

The best surprise is that she is going to be married this August to John.  They worked together at the hospital, and she feels that they were brought together by an angel friend, a mutual friend who died from a rare immune-deficiency disease.

Kary asked if we, DH and I, would give the blessing.  I was so taken by surprise, I sputtered, "Of course, we would be so honored to do so!"

Her face revealed total elation, and she replied, "No, you truly honor us by being there!"

Her entire family comes to our office as friends and clients, including her parents, her aunt (who is now a Reiki practitioner) and uncle, as well as her brothers-in law.  Her folks have Maui roots and know our Lahaina relatives, the Morikawas. Our families go way back. She says her wedding will a combination of Hawaiian, Japanese and Western traditions, so we know this is going to be great fun. 

She made sure that I knew that Darrell* would be there.  Darrell is her cousin, also with Maui roots, who, years ago, came to talk to me about my professional field.  He is now Dr. Darrell. 

"His parents have since moved back to Hawai`i, so he's up there all by himself."  Well, Darrell must be very loved by his extended family down here, as every time any of them comes in, they network on his behalf and I am told a little bit more about Darrell.  

Just last week, Kary's sister, Kirstie* made sure to tell me, "Darrell wants you to know he still wants to work here, even if he's in Seattle. You're his "Ideal". 

This visit, Kary went in great depth how special Darrell is.  His parents, she said, are "cool" parents. She said, "They sat Darrell and his sister down and told them they were each given a nest egg of X funds for their college education.  It would be up to them to make their decisions and manage their nest egg as they saw fit." 

Darrell got into the top schools and chose Berkeley, because after one year, he was paying in-state tuition, thus conserving his nest egg funds. Instead of blowing his money on a new car, he bought a used car, restored it and maintains it himself, keeping it  in tip-top shape.  After eight years of college, he had conserved and managed his nest egg so well, that he was able to graduate debt-free AND was able to put a down payment on a house with what was left over.  

As we say in Hawai`i, he is very akamai (smart, savvy) with his money and (like DH and me) have never had to ask his parents for an extra dime.  He stands on his own two feet.

Someone after my own heart....  

*  Names have been altered.

"Life is a Gift."

Author Unknown

P.S.  If you would like to share a portion of yourself with words, in response to this journal entry, you may do it here.  

 "The only gift is a portion of thyself..."
Ralph Waldo Emerson


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This web journal was created on a September Morn, 
September 29, 2001
September Morn 2002