Have we become a nation of whiners? Do we have to always find someone else to blame for our problems? Have we forgotten that life in general is basically tough for everyone, and generally a lot tougher on others than on ourselves? Sometimes I wonder if Americans have forgotten that most people of the world don’t lose sleep worrying about taxes, elections, stock markets, or their portfolio because they are spending most of their time trying to find their next meal, or clean water, or a safe place to sleep. Watch the news now and you may come to the conclusion that too many Americans have become spoiled, like little children complaining about not getting some treat.
Which is why I loved the Dixie rodeo last week. What a great American tradition the rodeo is and, by the way, not a single person was seated during the national anthem. I didn’t see any whiny-babies there. The event is always more about the spirit of America than the actual processes of riding and roping.
As the parade of horses kicked off Saturday night’s activities, we cheered as our nine-year-old granddaughter Rylee rode past our seats. Then, in the excitement, her horse stumbled and she went over the top and landed in the dirt. We gasped, but she immediately jumped up and took off running after her frightened horse. She covered the whole length of the arena before catching him, at which point she grabbed the reins and climbed back on. Her new rodeo outfit was dirty, but on that horse again her smile was as big as ever. Kicking the 1100 pound horse to get it going, that 65 pound girl reminded him who was in charge.
In those few tense grandparent moments we witnessed what is so great about the American spirit, and what is always on display at the rodeo. It is the realization that things do not always go well, that falls are common, and bruises part of the experience, but big cowboys, and little cowgirls, never stay down.
Some may think cowboys who climb atop a raging bull, or jump from a well-trained horse onto the back of an unwilling steer are a bit crazy, and maybe they are, but you have to admire their courage and commitment. They don’t always win, but they never give up. Rodeo contestants impress me because they focus on the next ride, not the last fall.
Retirement planning will not always go as planned. You will have surprises along the way, markets may move against you, health will change, and grandkids may not visit as often as you want. At those times when life tosses you to the ground, dust yourself off, get back on that horse and don’t complain about it! There are still some great rides ahead of you. Rodeos, like them or not, there is so much we can learn about success in life by watching those who participate in them. Thanks Rylee, for your great example to all of us.
Hi, I'm Dan. I'm a CFP® Professional.
Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®.
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