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Don't Play The Catch Up Game

A buddy of mine was in town a couple of weeks ago. He normally works and resides internationally (shout out to the Cocoa Nomad). But he was in town and in the states for a number of reasons. And he reached out to me and another buddy of mine. We all went to college together and he said, "Hey, I'm in town. We need to link up when he tapped in and we need to catch up." And I said, "Absolutely." So we traded emails. We got on some phone calls, we traded text messages and finally coordinated our time to coordinate our schedules, to meet up at a restaurant that is local to where I live.

So we get there, we're catching up, catching up on family. What's going on with work. What's going on with us. What's going on with kids, a lot of those different things. And we got around to what's going on with him. And he made a comment that I want to be the focus of this particular episode. He referenced his financial situation.

He had been living abroad for at least the past 10 or 15 years, I think, and he's pretty much the same age as I am, close to 50. And he commented that he needed to catch up in terms of what's needed for his retirement, catch up in terms of investing, catch up in terms of savings, catching up in terms of a lot of different things, mainly financial. And from there, we continued to rap and talk about lots of other things, but that particular comment stuck with me. And it's what I want to focus on today - this idea of playing the catch-up game.

One of the things we can often get stuck on and spend a lot of time on is recognizing that there are probably things that we should have started doing years ago when we were younger, that we did not take advantage of, that we did not take action on. And sometimes that can lead to regret. Sometimes it can lead to some guilt or maybe some shame, or just disappointment that some of the things that you now know you should have taken care of, you didn't take care of.

And the point I want to make is, when it comes to enacting your second half success plan, when it comes to pursuing the big goals God has for you, it doesn't do any good to try to play the catch up game with the you that you will be or would have been at this point in time, had your younger self taken action on the things that you're taking action on now.

If you're trying to compete with that person, if you're trying to catch up to that individual who in a parallel universe, in a parallel dimension has done the things or did the things that you are now starting to do, you're probably not going to catch up to them. And it's probably a waste of time. Well, not a good use of time to invest a lot of energy trying to do that.

I'm reminded of a chart from a Dave Ramsey class that I took years and years and years ago - Financial peace (shout out to Dave Ramsey). But in the class he talked about investing and talking compound interest. And there was this chart and there were two individuals.

One's name was Tom. And the other one was Jacob, Tom started investing at age 25. It was a certain amount of money a month. And he did that for five years and he stopped at age 30. And then for the next 50 years it just continued to grow and grow and grow, as compound interest took place.

And then there was another person that maybe started at age 30 or 35. I can't remember the time that the second person started. And then they started investing and they continue to invest the same amount that Tom did, but they continued to invest for a long period of time. And what the graph showed is that the second person, Jacob, in this case, never caught up to Tom. He did not catch up at all.

The graph even showed that Jacob continued to invest a certain amount of money monthly into whatever account that they were using. I think it was supposed to be getting like 12% interest. Jacob never caught up at the time. Tom had started earlier and was able to invest a lot less than Jacob, but because of the power of compound interest, he never caught up. It didn't mean that Jacob didn't actually amass a significant amount of money based on the chart that was there, but he never caught up.

And that chart, that graph, that story sort of illustrates and can illustrate where you might be right now is that the you in this case maybe years ago, if you had started so many things at age 25 or 30, the compound interest of those activities, whether their they're health-related, relationship related or financially related, would have compounded over and over and over again so many times that chances are, if you're just now beginning of those activities, it's likely you probably will not catch up.

Now, the trick here is that should not be a deterrent from starting. That should not be a deterrent from beginning. That just simply serves as a reality check- and maybe a sobering one, maybe one that causes you to pause. But it does not nor do I encourage you to make it something that you spend a lot of time regretting over, looking in the rear view mirror is not going to be helpful because time only goes one way . The hands of time go forward. And that's the only direction in which you can go.

So you have to start with where you are. So the idea of trying to play catch up, whether it's your health, whether it's your finances, whether it's a particular relationship isnot the best use of your mental energies and not the best attitude or the best posture from which to start to take action on the plan for success in the second half of life, because God still has great goals for you, and they're not dependent on what you did or didn't do a number of years ago.

They're based on, and they're buoyed by the kinds of action that you take from here going forward. So release yourself from playing the catch-up game. Rest in the knowledge that you can only start with where you are right now in the present moment. Take definitive steps right now to do things differently, whatever those things might be and trust and believe that from here on out, you still have plenty of time to get to the goals, and to reach the success that you have and that God has for your life. Take care.

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