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Life Lessons from Jimmy Buffett

Our family was deeply saddened by the news of Jimmy Buffett’s passing on September 1st. For over 40 years, all of us have been serious “Parrotheads.” I don’t usually get hit that hard when celebrities or other people I don’t know die, but something about the way Jimmy touched our lives was very different. His music provided a soundtrack for us through the decades. 

I am not sure if my love for the ocean and beach started before or after listening to his music, but it certainly enhanced that passion. We raised our kids on his music and took them, our parents, friends, and grandkids to his concerts. It was a summer ritual for our family, and we attended many of the record 48 shows he did at Merriweather Post Pavilion as well as a number of other venues. I am grateful that we got to his last one there in July 2022! While escaping to Margaritaville was certainly a theme in his songs and life, just like the example of his life, some of his “deeper tracks” really do hold  wonderful life lessons:

It's My Job (actually written by Mac McAnally)

    “It's my job to be better than the best and that makes the day for me”

It doesn't matter what path you choose in life, the important thing is to bring passion and dedication to it. Whether you are a street sweeper, a bank president, or a well-known musician, if you enjoy what you do and strive to be the best, your “work” will never be a chore. 

Someday I Will

    “So whatever thrills you, anything you love to do, just say someday I will.”

We all want to live a life full of purpose, but life throws a lot of curveballs at us. You don’t have to have a plan, just a dream, and that will help you find the way you are supposed to go. If you have an overall sense of direction in your life and know what is really important in your heart, the decisions you make along the way will guide you to where you want to go. 

Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On

“According to my watch, the time is now, the past is dead and gone” 

Jimmy wrote this after Katrina devastated his beloved Gulf Coast. Dealing with a disaster like this, whether a Category 5 hurricane or a personal loss, can be devastating. Sometimes we just have to acknowledge it, deal with the issues around it, and then move on. Dwelling on the past or worrying about the future is not a good way to live your life. Be here now!

Growing Older But Not Up

    “ Let those winds of time blow over my head, I'd rather die while I’m living then live while I’m dead”

This song took on an entirely new meaning after the news of his passing. Jimmy really seemed to live his life to the fullest. While he was very entrepreneurial and detail-oriented, there was no doubt how much he loved being on stage, whether it was in front of a handful of fans or 25,000+. His passion for life is a lesson for all of us. We only get a short time on this planet and we only get one chance to make our life the best it can be ... Live life to the fullest!

Tonight I Just Need My Guitar

    “Sometimes more than others, you see who and what and where you are. I’m a one-man band with no immediate plans, tonight I just need my guitar”

I think about this song a lot these days. The world is “full of bright shiny things that we think we really require”. But we really should focus on what is most important to us in our lives. I know when I fall into that trap of “needing” the latest and greatest, I try to step back and think about what I REALLY need. It brings me back to family, friends, and spending time together. Live simply!

Far Side Of The World

    “I’m heading out this morning for the Far Side of the World”

This has been my go-to travel song for many years. We have been able to travel to some amazing parts of the world and this song is always in my head. Travel opens your horizons and helps you to see how “small” the world really is and how much alike we all are. Spending time with the Massai in the Serengeti, having fun with school children in the Bocas del Toro islands of Panama, and getting to know locals down under in Australia have given us a real appreciation of different cultures and perspectives. While checking off the tourist sites is great, traveling more like a local is beneficial in so many ways.

Jimmy Buffett brought a passion to life that we all need to embrace. He touched so many people, both directly and indirectly. His inquisitive nature (“a PBS mind in an MTV world”) is something we can all strive for. The stories of how he helped so many others who were in need. His impact will continue to be felt by our family for many years to come. As he sings in Last Mango In Paris….

    “Our lives change like the weather but a legend never dies”

- Lyle K Benson Jr., CPA, PFS, CFP

The views expressed represent the opinions of L.K. Benson & Company and are subject to change.  These views are not intended as a forecast, a guarantee of future results, investment recommendation, or an offer to buy or sell any securities. The information provided is of a general nature and should not be construed as investment advice or to provide any investment, tax, financial or legal advice or service to any person.

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