The thought of planning for the future and retirement overwhelms me, and the gerbil that sometimes runs my brain gets sweaty.

Watching my parents age and suffer has been as awful as it is excellent gerbil food.

Recently I came across the story I’m posting below. I’ve read it before, and I like it every time I read it. It reminds me when given free range and ample food, the gerbils of life will thrive and keep you what really matters to you.

When you stand up and say what it is that matters to you, there’s the risk of looking “bad” to some people’s ….maybe even in your own eyes (as if being happy isn’t “good” enough). It seems like my life is often a struggle involving my commitment to what really matters to me and the fear that fuels purchase after purchase of those gerbil wheels….so to speak.

An investment banker stood at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The banker complimented the fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The fisherman replied, “Only a little while.”

The banker then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish?

The fisherman said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.

The banker then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.”

The investor scoffed, “I am an Ivy League MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, and eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats.

The investor continued, “And instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would then sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution! You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

The fisherman asked, “But how long will this all take?”

To which the banker replied, “Perhaps 15 to 20 years.”

“But what then?” asked the fisherman.

The banker laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions!”

“Millions. Okay, then what?” wondered the fisherman.

To which the investment banker replied, “Then you would retire. You could move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, and stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

I don’t know who to attribute this to. I’ve seen it published many places and no one ever attributes it. Sorry to the person who wrote it. If only the author had a nickel, right?!


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