At this time of year, looking out at the lush Michigan vegetation, I am often reminded of one of Shakespeare’s sonnets – No 15, in which he observes that all things, humans included, experience a moment of perfection. A moment we build toward and from which we decline. He reflects on physical perfection, but it makes me think also of the various types of perfection that humans achieve.
Physical perfection is reached very early in life – that age when our bodies are magnificent and require no upkeep. Mental perfection, the accuracy and speed of our minds, comes later, probably in our 30’s or maybe 40’s. And then there is an emotional perfection that can come even later in life when our minds are still sharp but also informed by experience; when we can see the landscape and understand more deeply the decisions we make and our relationship to people and things.
And so Olympic athletes are often just children. Great scientists make their mark in mid-life. But it is the aged grandparent who can best provide judgment-free and unconditional love. (And, dare I say, the later-in-life lawyer who can give the best counsel.)
In practice, we see clients and their families, and we recognize the different stages of life that they are in. It’s all part of the planning process. We often think ahead for them about decline, and try to help them anticipate the challenges they will face. But sometimes I like to remember how they will evolve from where they are now to other moments of perfection.