Reflections From a Geologist at Heart
Geology (def.) Geology involves studying the materials that make up the earth, the features and structures found on Earth as well as the processes that act upon them. Geology also deals with the study of the history of all life that’s ever lived on or is living on the earth now.
Now how am I going to relate geology to financial planning, wealth building and living our life to the fullest? Well now, let’s just see…
When I started in college I began as a geology major… And the rock hound bug has never left. At night I am known to leisure read old and new geology text books – for fun. My wife Ronda, shakes her head and smiles (well kind of smirks) with that glazed-over, eyes rolling, kind of look when I start talking geology. She calls me (I”m sure it’s affectionately) “Poindexter” because I have that kind of mind that remembers technical things.
So I turn to you, my dear readers, to say here what I am fond of pointing out whenever out walking in nature or driving in the country as my wife steals a glance in my direction when I start “talking techie” and catches my eyes roaming with sparkle to the earth’s layered crust. (Busted!)
But truly: Indulge the intrigue here if you will. I promise to keep it short; maybe even spark a little sparkle of awe in your eyes as well!
And how about this one:
QU: If you stretch your arms out at full length and let that length represent the 4.5 billion years of the earth’s life, what portion of your full arm span (from one fingertip to the other fingertip) does human life itself first show up on our planet?
Take a guess:
- Is it midway across your chest?…
- Is it merely that portion from your elbow to that same fingertip?…
- Is it only one hand span that measures the full human existence in the total life of the earth?…
Here, in this photo above, you can see yours truly standing just this last week at the same place I stood 10 years ago (thanks to Photoshop and an impish wife). Pretty big change in 10 years time! A lot of life happens in a decade of living, doesn’t it? (And yes, I know: I’m leaving you to ponder the open question above a while longer yet…)
Here’s what geology shares and gifts me in my life:
Geology gives me a much bigger perspective on life’s timeline, resilience, and evolution. Geology reminds me that life is always moving and changing. In the rocks we can see the impact of many thousands – and indeed millions of years of changing conditions. We can see the impact of life over time. We can read the rock and interpret it’s language and know something of what it went through and what was happening to the world at those moments. Rocks tell the story of life and change.
This visual language in the rock helps remind me too that things in my own life are changing, growing, adapting – even when I may not yet realize the change or the impact.
Geology reflects how each experience in a lifetime is recorded in our being. Just like a rock, we are the composite of all that we experience and carry in our cellular memory. We are so much more than any one immediate moment of experience… Or as popular cliche puts it “this too shall pass”… Everything in time shall pass.
The language of rocks teaches me patience, an appreciative sense of steadiness, and a deep respect for things occurring in their own good time.
Geology makes me pause. It speaks to me of awareness and awe: It simultaneously helps me to remain aware and engaged in each moment, while at the same time holding a perception of awe for the ineffable grandeur of the seasons and cycles of our lives.
So when I go about working with my clients as an independent registered investment advisor, this may sound weird, but I see my client/friends as beautiful rocks and gems – each individual with his and her own unique composite and imprint of life experiences; each with a unique path to take and an essential story to tell.
When a financial plan and investment strategy is developed from this level of attention to a person’s absolute uniqueness and story, the impact on his or her wealth and well-being is quite simply very apparent.
As I write this, I realize that I’ve not left my first love of geology – The story of Geology is embedded in my awareness and in my awe for each person’s unique path of purpose and ability to experience life to the fullest. Each life is a living legacy in the making.
OH! You may still want “THE ANSWER” to the question at the beginning of this article: The question about where on the span of one’s arm length is reflected the whole of our human existence on planet earth.
Do you have your guess? Are you ready to know the answer? (I see you’ve read this entire article, and so you deserve the answer.)
OK here you go:
A: If you stretch your arms out at full length and let that length represent the 4.5 billion years of the earths existence, ONE SWEEP of a nail file across the very tip of one fingernail on one finger represents the entire time human existence has been on this planet relative to earths full lifespan!
(Take that question and visual description to your next cocktail party, and you too can be looked at askance and called “Poindexter” by your adoring wife…)
Mattawe P. Clements, RIA, is owner and CEO of Clements Investment Management Inc. – Specializing in designing your personal financial “GPS” for living a sustaining quality of life and clarity of vision throughout your lifetime.