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Date Posted: 15:23:13 04/14/18 Sat
Here are a couple of thought-provoking experiences I recently had.
I've been spending a lot of time lately with my friend who graduated from Wharton. Every time that we get together, he mentions that he's rich. Now, this is notable for two reasons. Number one, nobody should be mentioning that they are rich. That's simply bad form, although maybe it's a Wharton thing, as our current president does the same. Number two, it's self-evident that he's rich. He's now the CEO of his second large multinational corporation. Of course he's rich.
Yet he still mentions it every time we're together, as if I might have forgotten from the previous visit. Lately, he's made it evident in a none too subtle fashion that, by "rich," he means a number comfortably north of $100 million. Other than the topic of money, he's a completely humble, well-adjusted guy whom I'm very happy to know and like.
In a completely unrelated incident, I was recently at a gathering of about a dozen male friends, all of whom I've known for decades. One guy nonchalantly mentioned to me that, "I thought that once I was worth more than $100 million, I might lose some interest in working, but I'm still very motivated."
At first, I silently recoiled in horror, thinking "When did it become okay to drop into conversation one's net worth, especially when it's a big number?"
I've been thinking a lot about these conversations. Upon more reflection, these two alarming incidents with friends of mine may be reflective of our status as middle-aged men. We're all close enough to the ends of our careers that we can see it over the horizon. Our bodies are changing and not for the better.
We're somewhere in the transition process from energetic, sexually vibrant men into the long slow decline into something new and different. And really, for the first time in our lives, we know it.
I now think that my two friends aren't trying to tell *ME* that they're successful, they're trying to remind *THEMSELVES* that they've had a good run. To use the language of Winston Churchill, we're transitioning from the end of the beginning to the beginning of the end and it's not an easy transition.
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