Inspiration from “A Poetic Life”

Contributed by: Timothy Wyman, CFP®, JD Tim Wyman

How will you live your life, now and in retirement? Will you live each day to the fullest – regardless of circumstances? Do you take the long way home in order to enjoy the sights, even if the GPS says there is a faster way?  I am fortunate to have so many interesting clients that inspire me to continuously think about and plan for an intentionally lived life. In that spirit, and with permission from the authors, long-term clients of mine, I share “A Poetic Life”.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

A Poetic Life

We live a poetic life. It’s not at all that we are poets. But our lives together are frequently “two cats in the yard” easy but it is always “til death do us part” solid. We live on two acres in an older home filled with the daily rhythms of dappled tree and leaf shadows.   We have some lovely habits: coffee and clipboard plans, well-paced errands, walking, wine time, and evening talk time. We have other not so lovely habits too but we discuss and curb and respect. A poetic life was never meant to be flawless.

Like many of you we had very busy professional lives. Dan as a long-term parish minister of a large congregation and Cathy as pediatric chaplain and hospital department manager in Detroit. We encouraged. We witnessed incredible suffering.  We did all we knew how to do.

In wedding ceremonies Dan included the phrase “may your home be an island where the pressures of a cluttered world can be sorted out and brought into focus; where accumulated tensions can be released and understood; where personal needs do not tower over concern for others; where the immediate does not blur more distant goals; where the warmth of humor and love puts both crisis and dullness into perspective.” It is the heart and soul of our poetic life.

We live love consciously. We give thanks for incredible beauty. We do not turn from sorrow. We intentionally notice the unexpected. We allow for honest contrasts. We make hard decisions. We embrace enoughness. We acknowledge unfinishedness. Poetic enough for us.

We had always known that we’d retire early, though we hadn’t decided exactly when.  Then one day the mail brought a copy of the UUMA News and a copy of Cook’s Illustrated.  Dan sat down with Cook’s.  The time had come for us. Time for others to make their mark. Since retirement, we get great joy from the slower pace.  We savor.  We reflect.  We appreciate.  We live a poetic life.

That doesn’t insulate us from life’s trouble, pain and suffering: a cerebral hemorrhage, cancer, family disappointments, making difficult decisions.  The poetic life, to paraphrase Picasso, washes the dust off the daily life of your soul.

 “time is a tree (this life one leaf)

but love is the sky and I am for you just so long

and long enough.”

e.e. cummings

Timothy Wyman, CFP®, JD is the Managing Partner and Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc. and is a contributor to national media and publications such as Forbes and The Wall Street Journal and has appeared on Good Morning America Weekend Edition and WDIV Channel 4. A leader in his profession, Tim served on the National Board of Directors for the 28,000 member Financial Planning Association™ (FPA®), mentored many CFP® practitioners and is a frequent speaker to organizations and businesses on various financial planning topics.