Early in the year I had an online meeting with my new Broker. After almost thirty years I was making a change. Lots of reasons why but in the end, my old Brokers assistant had a new job. I followed the assistant. Crazy I know but customer service is huge and my guy Mark is amazing. And the new broker? He seems nice.
Since my move was all within the same brokerage firm I did little other than sign a few documents. All set up by Mark. Then with Covid, the meet and greet was, of course, on-line. I got an email well in advance of the meeting with instructions. I glanced at them and prepared as I normally do. I DIDN’T delete the email. On the day of the meeting I opened my computer, 5 minute before the start time, got comfy with a coffee and pulled up the email. That is when I noticed my computer battery was pretty low. I scrambled to find a charger. That done, I found I was now just on time. I hit the “join the meeting” button and that is where the fun started. Since it was the first time I had used this particular item there were hoops to jump through. Soon I saw the guys on the screen patiently waiting for me. Then the screen went blank and many four letter words were uttered.
I pulled out my phone, pulled up the same email, wrote down the password and meeting name, and attempted to join in. I worked. Sort of. I could hear them but not see them. After a bit of help from Mark I was able to get my shit together and continue with the meeting It was ten minutes after the start time. I was a bit flustered.
This morning we had another meeting scheduled. This one was a portfolio review. The new guy seems to want to keep me in the loop. I guess he needed to say something after a couple of crap months but really, it was a record year overall so… I’m good. I am well past the age where I want a ton of input. That was me in the early years. Lots of phone conversations with me and my great ideas and the Broker advising for or against. I was young when experience taught me that by the time a hot stock tip hit my ears from a friend, it was long past and the money to be made… Had been made. Experience and a Broker who was patient and never let me do stupid things helped me learn. Or at least didn’t let me lose much. He was aware of my volatile personality. Like the morning when I had a fight with the Home Depot paint guy, got into my truck crying, called the Broker and demanded he sell Home Depot. Immediately. My next call was to cancel the Home Depot credit card. I didn’t shop there for four years. I know how to hold a grudge. Besides, I was up 46% on the shares. They went higher after the fact but I don’t dwell on the woulda coulda part of life. So perhaps this new guy has heard stories.
Anyways, in my quest to appear as a grown up I decided to prepare for the meeting. I set the computer to charging last night. I have been having trouble with the outlet so I checked it four times in the course of the evening. I got the coffee prep done as well. Beans ground. Water in the kettle ready to turn on. I set my alarm for two hours before the meeting. Just in case. I often wake up at four a.m. or 6 a.m. But then again I have been known to sleep in until 11. So, I set the alarm. I thought I needed the extra time to have a shower and get dressed but around midnight I decided to have a shower and go to bed ultra clean. Save time in the morning. Now there were a few other wrinkles added to my complicated prep. There was a partial eclipse last night. Not seen in six hundred years. So after the shower I headed outside to gaze towards the heavens. It was a little chilly and cloudy but you could just see the beginning of the eclipse. That little sliver cut out of the moon. As I headed to bed I decided to set the alarm for 2 a.m. in order to see the eclipse at its fullest. You know, in for a pound, in for a penny. I decided to head to the basement and watch a movie instead of going to bed. That would maybe keep me awake. It did and when I ventured out to see the moon it was truly magical. I tried to take pictures both times but they sucked. No fear though, as there were going to be lots on the internet today.
Climbing back into bed I drifted off. It wasn’t until the sun was streaming through my window, and I looked at the clock that I realized my alarm hadn’t actually gone off. I checked it and I could see no reason why but since I had a meeting in 45 minutes I had no time to figure it out. I jumped up, or rather I slowly crept out of bed, flipped the switch on the kettle and headed to the bathroom. As I brushed my teeth I looked in the mirror thinking to myself, they won’t know this is a pajama shirt. I was debating getting dressed. After all, I need to go back to sleep when this was over. It had been a late night as I also got up around four a.m. to see the end of the eclipse. In the end I kept the pajamas. So, there I was. Sitting in front of my computer, in my p.j.’s with a hot cup of coffee. I was reading my book but had trouble following as I kept glancing at the computer. I had everything open and ready to go. All I had to do was hit the magic button. But I was twenty minutes early. Then eighteen. Then fifteen. Oh my God. I was losing it. How early can I join. Does the guy who set the meeting have to join first? AAAGGGHHH!!!!!
At six minutes to, I joined the meeting. Nothing broke. No one else was there but it all looked okay. Then Mark appeared. Hallelujah! Then came Randy. I could see them. I could hear them. I was early. I hadn’t messed up. We chatted. No one remarked on my outfit. Mind you we could only see each other from the chest up. I chuckled inside as I remembered the commercial with the guy who wasn’t wearing pants and his camera showed it in his online meeting. I found myself wondering if they had pajama’s on. Mark left the conversation to do work stuff. Randy started the portfolio review. I’d like to say the lack of sleep caught up to me but if you want the truth, all those graphs and blah blah blah had me struggling to stay awake. I nodded a lot. Said mm hmm a few times. I caught myself wondering about Randy’s wife when I saw him hold up his mug and a hand poured him coffee. He thanked her and continued. I nodded as I wondered if she worked from home also. Maybe she didn’t work. I admired the pictures behind him. I noticed he had wood blinds on the window. I have wood blinds. In the tv room. Huh. This all in my head. He asked if I had questions and I said no, thankful that it appeared we were drawing to a close. I focused on the chit chat part as the finish line was in sight. He dropped the bomb then, saying “I want to try and do this three times a year. So maybe again in February or March?” My heart sank and in my mind I though Yuck! But I smiled, said absolutely and we said our goodbyes. I was exhausted.
As I got my breakfast ready I thought about the two different meetings. The first one caused me no anxiety at all. Well maybe ten minutes during the meeting as I tried to work out the bugs. This time the meeting went smoothly but the hours leading up to it were actually a lot more stressful. I have been thinking long and hard about the next one. I have learned that there is a big difference in getting prepared and being prepared. But more to the point, the ten minutes I wasted in the first meeting would have been idle chit chat anyways. They may have eye rolled in their minds but frankly nothing was missed. In fact wasting a few minutes was okay because they had allotted an hour anyways. Nothing we had to say was earth shattering and we would have wrapped up in time regardless of how things went. Next meeting I have a new plan. First of all the meeting will be scheduled for the afternoon. Secondly I will prepare by turning the computer on ten minutes early, getting a coffee and sitting down. You see, I am retired. I have maybe twenty years left. God willing. Thirty maybe but the last ten might not be great. I am not going to waste a single minute preparing for something that will work out even without being prepared. Meetings were the bane of my working life. A time where I got nothing done and no one else accomplished much either. I lived a lot of my life on the fly and work always messed that up in some small way. But it was a necessary evil. Work. Now, being retired? Life can always be on the fly. No rules. No worries. No anxiety. No problems. Let the rest of the world worry about what might be. There is no time to waste. But then again, there never was.
P.S. Hanging out, reading, chilling, visiting, walking, talking and pretty much anything that makes you feel at peace and content… not wasting time.
Worrying? Huge waste!!!!
2 thoughts on “Being Prepared…”
Nice piece sister Cindy… Worry is definitely a waste of time.. Now that I’m almost retired as well, I’ve discovered that I am quite busy, but totally in a good way. I have never read so much in my life.. I learned a long time ago that
stress will kill you.. So I gave up stress. Just don’t believe in stress. It is something that one does to oneself. One of my favorite reminders is ” The sun will come up tomorrow..” and that little reminder can smooth out a lot of small bumps in the day.. Love you…
It is true we do hurt ourselves more than anyone else ever could. Love you too big brother.