Yesterday my geezer skier buddies and I gathered for a preseason lunch at Greek Peak, hosted by our good friend Frank. Our most senior member is ninety and the youngest has to be at least in his late sixties! Lots of memories in that group. After many decades of living a good life even in spite of troubles we are an optimistic bunch. All of us are looking forward to the new season with the hope we can ski many days in good conditions and even some bad.
During our lunch gathering there were many verbal exchanges catching up on activities over the summer and recollections of our past histories. Frank is an active CEO of his own business that continues to grow and expand and clearly is our most financially endowed citizen of our group. Others of us maintain active lives in other realms that include all types of volunteering and support of family endeavors. All in all we are all very rich in many different ways.
Most of the time when people talk about being rich, the immediate thought is how much financial wealth has been attained. However, to me being rich has so many other dimensions beyond the financial. Being rich in good memories is a personal dimension for all of us. As an example during our lunch I was prompted to recall growing up on the family farm in Wayne County, New York. I probably in some ways bored my lunch companions with stories of a farm growing apples, having a mint still for fragrant oil production and a dry house for producing dried apple slices for world wide distribution. On the skiing side of course we all can swap stories of the good and the bad days on the slopes. Just being out there is a stimulation of rich memory. Andy and I had an unusual Hawaiian shirt day last year when we were iced covered by the time we finished our morning runs.
Another source of richness is the community of friends sharing like pursuits, whether it be skiing, tennis, golfing or what not. Each day we can be fantastically rich in gratitude for family, friends, and the opportunity to give back to the world.
Finally, a thought about the status of wealth distribution in the United States today. No other time in our history has financial wealth been so unevenly distributed over the population. To me it is a tragedy that so many hard working people are desperate to have health care and sufficient food and shelter for their families while billionaires continue to accumulate obscene levels of wealth. Where is the integrity to share that wealth with the rest of mankind? Data shows the wealthiest are the least likely to be tithers in giving to share their wealth. I applaud some of the wealthiest people who pledge to give away half of their means by the time of their death. Even in those cases, they will be left with billions to pass on to their heirs. As I point my fingers at others, I also know I point three fingers back at myself. Along with my own memories, I hope that I can continue to live a life of generosity with the means I have accrued and will be remembered as a good and faithful steward of the earth and mankind.