When I was born, if I had reached this age I most likely would have met my maker. Neither of my parents made it past their fifties. Yet here I am not feeling a bit of my chronological years physically or mentally. Yesterday was my birthday and I feel glorious.
I can attribute that to a few factors. One I pinpoint to when I was in college. People are constantly bemoaning things. Unhappy about life’s challenges they face. I discovered that is not a way to live.
I was in the Spring semester of my senior year in college. We were faced with tackling a daunting task. In May we were going to take the CPA exam. Everyone said this was the most challenging of professional exams to obtain a license. We were taking a review course that would involve going to a full day of class every Saturday from January until the exam in May. That is not something college kids want to do on top of taking a full load of classes, working part-time jobs, and interviewing for the next step in their life experience. A large segment of people in the review class just did what people often do – bitched and moaned. I decided that was not for me.
I organized a group of six classmates. We decided we would take turns providing lunch for the group. We made lunch a party. Something we looked forward to doing. We went to one of the member’s nearby homes and had a great time.
We learned a valuable lesson. Make the best of your situation no matter what it may be. I have carried that through the remainder of my life. I have faltered from achieving that on occasion. I would be lying if I said I had not. I can tell you when most CPAs who do taxes are dreading tax season — believe me it is a challenge mentally and more challenging in recent years – I always have said bring it on. I tell people when they think I am dreading tax season that they are nuts. I go to the mailbox and there are little slips of paper written with my name on it. I open my drawer and see a stack of little slips of paper made to me. I am a happy guy. Always make the best of your situation and you will be much happier and healthier.
I learned very young not to begrudge other people’s success. I tell people we were the poorest Jewish kids in the elite community in which we grew up. Yet, I never felt or thought myself lesser because they had nicer homes and cooler bikes. I didn’t feel envy because I had to get up to deliver papers at 5:00 A.M. to help my family.
The Beautiful Wife did not get my attitude initially. Then we were at a holiday party with a group of my friends. A friend of mine asked her if I was uncomfortable because many of the people there were my early clients for my own CPA practice, and they were further along in their careers and making more money. She hit gold when she told my friend, “You don’t understand Bruce, he does not care what is in anyone else’s bank account, he only cares what is in his.”
Begrudging other people’s success will bring you nothing but sadness. I never have and never will.
Last, I learned early in my life the most important thing in life is to have gratitude. I am so grateful for everything I have. The Beautiful Wife, my wonderful kids, the rest of my family, my many, many friends and my fabulous clients who make my work rewarding and as always, my doggies.
I am grateful for everything I achieved in life. My business that gives me total control over my time, my chance to have been a Presidential appointee and serve the country I love and all the other aspects of my life that give me such joy like my music, sports that give me joy, traveling the world with the Beautiful Wife and great books that enrich my life.
Three simple guidelines for life: 1. Make the best of every situation life brings you, 2. Don’t begrudge others for their successes, focus on your own and 3. Be grateful for everything in your life. I live by them.
I am nowhere near the end of my life or my career. I feel like I am just getting started. I will follow my three guiding principles stated above and be grateful every day for the people who surround my life, my spirituality as a Jew and lastly the gift of being an American.
Life is great, let’s have a party. Oh, that was last night.