Every year-end I review my portfolios and re-balance them if needed. I evaluate the year for growth or loss; financially as well as on a personal aspect and plan accordingly for the forthcoming year; keep up the growth or compensate for the loss whatever applies for the coming year. Financial review is apparent. The thought of reviewing a year on personal aspect is drawn by the life experiences of two of my uncles; my lawyer uncle and my teacher uncle. Both now retired after leading a successful career, well success is a subjective term. Lawyer uncle is a flamboyant personality, makes his presence feel amongst the crowd and hardly anyone can escape his charisma. Teacher Uncle takes life in stride, minimalist at material things, wealthy with wisdom and generous in distributing his wealth, the wealth he is rich at. Personality genes from the same pool can mutate so radically in same generation is beyond my realm of understanding. May be this is the trait which is acquired and not inherited; a motivational fact for me to adapt my lifestyle to the pages lived by my inspiration.
Lawyer Uncle flourished his career as a criminal defense lawyer. Within few years of his career he earned a reputation of a redeemer in criminal defense world. His Machiavellian skills to twist fiction into facts were exemplary and unprecedented. He was envied amongst his peers for his success and his ability to shatter any prosecution at his own will. I remember one of his much media publicized case where he successfully defended a murder trial. His sharp arguments, devious witness cross-examination and capitalizing on legal loopholes forced the jury to acquit the defender. The judge in the closing remark of his verdict said, “Judgments here are made by ears and not by eyes. The case would have been judged differently in a court where eyes are allowed to play a role. Unfortunately this is the system we have built and we must abide by it.” Lawyer uncle gladly accepted that remark as a trophy and treasured it as one of his many pride possession throughout his career. His approach towards his profession did not allow him to make friends. If you have money he is your savior from any sticky situation you may be in. If you don’t have enough for his hefty fees his secretary will show other options available outside his office. “Money talks” was the simplest form of business motto his office followed. By retirement he amassed enough wealth to buy any worldly riches one can imagine.
Teacher uncle nourished a teaching career educating high-school kids. He took teaching as an art of imparting knowledge. His modest lifestyle didn’t offer much room for money or material things. He’d love to spend time beyond school hours coaching students on how to succeed as a student as well as a person. He developed this unique skill of lending a hand of friendship to almost anyone he met and would gladly share his wealth of wisdom. He’ll proactively reach out to underprivileged to explain them the importance of education and will also motivate & help them to achieve one. He’ll consider the final exams his very own test; test of his teaching ability during the year. He derived the deepest contentment from the good grades of his graduating students. Many of his inspired students pursued higher education to become a doctor, engineer or a scientist. He retired with a modest pension enough to keep him busy with what he enjoys the most, sharing wisdom.
As a kid I always liked the company of my lawyer uncle mainly because I received some of my most expensive gifts from him. I admired his attitude that anything you say and believe is true as long as you have ability to present it in context. I didn’t have any qualms with my teacher uncle as long as he doesn’t attempt sharing his wealth. Knowing me he would always try to wrap his wisdom around a tale. I would enjoy his fun stories to an absolute delight, conveniently filtering the wisdom part. For my High school graduation, my lawyer uncle gave me a cool gadget, a trend of the time and a gold plated pen. My Teacher uncle gave me a hand made book of wisdom titled – “wisdom to be a man”. And he also associated a wisdom to lawyer uncle’s gift gold plated pen, He said, the gold pen in your pen holds the key to your future, with this you can write your golden future. I have already confessed in one of my earlier posts that wisdom analyzing cells in my brain developed at a much later stage. I hurriedly looked through the pages of wisdom diary seeking for a solution on drinking without being caught, didn’t find a mention so closed it and put it away incomplete sounding book that did not have a mention of the basic idea of becoming a Man – the booze. And I got busy exploring the gadget.
Both of my uncles are now retired & I am busy in managing my life & career. Teacher uncle, almost every day he’ll find one of his students paying him a visit to express gratitude for the role my uncle played in shaping their career. His retired days are filled with such moment of pride, relived everyday. His successful students will bring expensive presents along with their words of gratitude, and uncle would gladly & respectfully decline the material things insisting his students to donate them to the needy ones. I turn he will still give precious gems from his never emptying Perl basket of wisdom. Lawyer uncle spends most of his retired life. Along with his mansion, he also has a ranch, three vacation homes and a luxury yacht. After my aunt lost a cancer battle he still lives a solitude life. The person who talked everyone to silence in a courtroom is now silently looking for someone who can talk his solitude. When he goes to public places to be amongst people he is often greeted by frown faces. He largely finds him self as a people repellent. He throws lavish parties to attract people, often to see them gathered to socialize for their own petty agenda. His experienced eyes can read through the fake faces wearing synthetic smiles.
Thinking about both of them now, I don’t say either of them is completely wrong or correct. They both are correct in their own sense. But there is something in them or in me that made me admire them differently during the course of my life. During my early age I liked lawyer uncle more; at current I admire teacher uncle the most. I am uncertain about my future state of life mainly around retirement. My hobbies can’t survive on a modest pension in my retired life; extrovert chatty person like me can’t afford solitude for an extended period of time. I want best of both the worlds, but not one at the cost of the other. I want gratification in present and in future, I want my nieces and nephews to equally like me now and later. Moments of my pride possession should not be confined to one segment of my life but rather should span all across. To achieve that I decided to steal a page from each of my uncle’s life and re-write one that can satisfy my needs, a page that has plan for present and future, a plan that includes making money as well as friends. At the year end I review my balance sheet to see what I have gained and what I have lost. We all know about monitory gains & losses. Competitive world we live & the corporate world we work in takes toll on relationship. We often end up burning more bridges than we build them. Changing priorities often lead to losing some valuable connections. 2011 financially ended in negative, however even in this year of recession I ended up positive on my other portfolio by gaining more friends. If you have read this through with appreciation, I guess I have started my 2012 on a plus side. Wish you all a very successful 2012, financially as well as emotionally.