Wisdom With Pops: Volume 2

I recently told Pops that he isn’t as wise as he once was.

I don’t have a filter.

Daddy was a wise man.  Pops is my friend.  Maybe that’s the difference.  Same dude, different person.  I don’t know.

But I have a cool story.

I came out of college at the end of 2011 and was as broke as I’ve ever known myself to be.  I was getting married in 4 months and had to find a job immediately.

I found one three months later at Sylvan Learning Center and brought home maybe $1100/mo.

Not bad.  Smokin’ Hot Wife was working too.

I was budgeting like a mad man back then, the same as I am now except with just pencil and paper.  I made tons of mistakes.  I would spend hours trying to find out why the bank and my paper showed different numbers.

Anyway, we did not make a ton of money.  And we did not save ANY money.

If you’ve ever been in that type of situation, you might have found yourself thinking the same thoughts I was thinking:

What can I do?  –  Which means… I’ll do almost anything to make more money.  I applied for countless jobs.  Put myself in humiliating situations to ask for jobs.  Hated it.  I had a math degree, which meant nothing to an employer, and I had no idea what my thought process was to get that degree.  Which led to more questions:

What can I even qualify for?  –  Which means… what can I do with a math degree?  The answer, in case anyone is wondering, is nothing without more learning.

We couldn’t afford more learning.  It crossed my mind to go back to school, as it does most people who panic and need more money.  But my wife and I decided early that I would not go back to school if it required going into more debt.

Keep in mind, our minimum monthly payment on student loans was $442.

So the last question came:

What… can I do… that I am qualified for… that will take very little money… but just a lot of work… and time…

Turns out there was an answer to that one for me.  Actuary.

I won’t bore you, but if you want a misrepresented version of one, see Ben Stiller’s character in Along Came Polly.

There were several tests, and I needed to pass the first 2 on my own before I could find a job and continue in that field.

So I bought a book and started studying.  I studied a lot.  I knew that math too.  I could teach you the math.

I was a good student by the time I finished college.  I could learn just about anything anyone was willing to teach me, but I was not, and still am not, very good at teaching myself something and applying it to real world situations.

Same thing happened here.  I failed the first test.  After months of studying.  Months.

Talk about deflating.

By this time it was 2013 and I was 25.  Training at my new job was $12/hr, 40 hrs/week.  A slight bump from Sylvan, but only because I was working 40 hours.

I was grateful for something new, but I still wanted to be an Actuary because they do make tons of money.  Look it up.

So I found this thing… Looking back, I’m not so sure it was legit.  But it was a company who would take me on as an intern type thing, let me get actuarial training and teach me the material for the first two actuarial exams.

Catch…. I wouldn’t get paid.

Of course.

Well, obviously I couldn’t do that, but I thought we could make it work.  Smokin’ Hot Wife and I were on different pages.

Of course.

She didn’t think that moving to a different state and not having jobs was a good idea.

Of course.

It wasn’t an argument, and we weren’t angry with one another.    She was obviously right.  I just thought we could do it and that it would benefit us greatly in the long run.

So one night I called Pops.  I don’t know why.  Just felt like he was the one to call.

I think I woke him up from a nap.

Quick side note:  Chris Hogan tells a story about his grandmother.  He says that when he finished college, he had all these different options offered to him:  pursue professional football, train to become a boxer, get experience with a major corporation (or something like that, I can’t remember).  Well, his grandmother could tell he was “distraught” and asked him what was wrong.  He said that he was just trying to decide what he was going to do with his future, and he couldn’t.

She said, “Oh, that’s easy.  Forget the chances and focus on the opportunities.”

You can read the rest yourself.  I’ll make that one of the free book giveaways soon.

I gave Pops the short story of what was happening, not with Chris Hogan… with me… along the lines of, “I know I need to jump on this.  I know I can do well.  I know I can be the best.  And I know I can make a bunch of money.”

But Pops didn’t respond.  Daddy did.

Nothing is guaranteed, son.

Out of the dark, unexpected, retro Daddy-o.

Old school.

I can recall several times when words changed the course of my life:

You are forgiven.

I do.

Jett Walker Foshee.

Rhodes Evander Foshee.

If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

Nothing is guaranteed, son.

If there is a way to knock the self-imposed wisdom out of me, this was the way to do it:

Give me some actual wisdom.

Several things come to mind when I think back to those brilliant words:  the brevity of life, the finiteness of money, the uncertainty of tomorrow.

We plan and prioritize.  We think and toil.  Solomon already told us all of this is worthless, a chasing after the wind.

You ever chase the wind?  Did you catch it?

Nothing is guaranteed.

Really, this is why absolutes are dwindling in my life, and the truths are digging deeper.

I’ve heard someone say before that Pontius Pilate walked away from the greatest question ever asked:

What is truth?

Shoulda stuck around for that one, buddy.  No better person to explain it to you.

So… my point is, since nothing is guaranteed, it’s far better to live in such a way that will not result in a response like this:

“Fool!  This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?”

Talk about a counter-cultural mindset…

Do not conform.

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