Believing the mind is just another muscle that demands continual exercise, I have searched for both more information and more understanding all my life. If anything, that search is stronger now than at any point in my life. Believing the heart was an overly-strong muscle already, the Army helped me greatly to compartmentalize, coarsen, and control the emotional side. It has demanded little effort since then.
But muscle groups need to be in balance.
Yesterday, I visited a dying client. He must have mere weeks left. A big, strong guy before, I could lift him with one arm now. With a booming voice before, I struggled to understand his gasps now. I must say he has accepted and respected his fate with both courage and grace. I salute him!
Having done it many times, I know what to do, from a financial standpoint, after he is gone. As is common, the kids suspect the trusted financial advisor is there to somehow cheat them of their inheritance, but I know how to educate them, while reassuring the widow. I know what to do for them.
Maybe, it is because I’m getting older or because I’ve seen so much death or because my emotional muscle group needs to go back into the Army, but the burden of sadness seems to be getting heavier.
One of the most important concepts to economists is that of “opportunity cost.” What else could be purchased with this money? For example, the cost of a new aircraft carrier is not one billion dollars, but is two hospitals and one medical school. The opportunity cost of watching talented people die and take that talent to the grave with them is a cost beyond measure. Oddly, in ways I cannot explain, economics helps me to somehow carry the sadness.