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Lessons from the Bench

By April 24, 2024May 15th, 2024One Wealth Perspectives

I was born to play. I love playing. I’ll play games. I’ll play with words, with my dog, with your dog. With a soccer or volleyball. I’ll play in the park, on the beach or a rock wall. When I am not working, play is a priority. As a “grown up,” play it turns out, is an important act of stress management and meditation. Recently though, I haven’t been playing much. I’ve been sitting on the bench.

Growing up, “the bench” was like a bad word. It meant I’d talked back to the coach or been given a red card. It was a punishment. As a “grown up,” I’ve learned that sometimes, you have to bench yourself. In this case, I benched myself from a fulfilling social life in order to study for and take the Series 65, a FINRA license that qualifies individuals to act as investment advisor representatives. I would no longer participate in nearly as much fun in order to meet a longer term goal. It was challenging and isolating and very unfun, but the greater vision was clear to me: I needed to sit this stuff out now, so I could invest in my career for the future. Everything is temporary, etc. Due to this very zen and “grown up” approach (“I am one, after all,” she said to herself in the mirror every morning), and hours of studying, I passed my test and eagerly got back to my regularly scheduled programming of play in my free time. For one long second.

Last week, I tore my meniscus at intramural soccer. For the next eight weeks, I will be playing without the p: laying. About 90% of the activities I do outside of work involve my meniscus. The greater vision is less clear to me, here. An idle body makes for devil’s play. Sitting still does not come easy to me. I’ve been benched again, but if I don’t listen to the doctor’s orders, it could be longer. Everything is temporary, especially your body. I still have a lot of other intact cartilage and working gray matter, however, so I’m sensing an opportunity here: To put some time into new ways to play and learn how to slow down. I’m also sensing an allegory to investing. Sometimes, you have to just take a seat on the bench and have faith that the returns will be worthwhile, even when morale plummets.

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