Money Isn’t Everything

We all know that some of the most important things in life are things that money really can’t buy. Like the credit card ad on television reminds us, there are experiences, memories, relationships, etc. which are truly “priceless.”

The point of a career is to earn a living, but in my case not only the goal but the everyday details of my professional life are relentlessly focused on money. So as someone who is an accounting and tax professional, I want to devote my December newsletter to remembering ten joys from 2010 that I wouldn’t trade for any amount of the green stuff.

  1. Mt. Olympus Volleyball – My fourteen year-old daughter, Emma, has always been tall for her age, but most of her interests—like her dad’s—were artistic in nature. This year, however, she decided she wanted to play a sport suited to her natural assets, and tried out for the Mount Oly volleyball club. Not only did she make the team, she was also given the Most Outstanding Leadership award at the end of the season. Go Mount O!
  2. Classical Guitar – Even though I majored in music and played the guitar since the age of 15, I never felt like I possessed the musicianship to play classical guitar. But this year, for reasons I don’t really understand, I gave it a try. I bought a gorgeous Cordoba guitar, and though it took me months to teach myself a single piece, three and four measures at a time, I now have a two-song repertoire and have rediscovered the pure, selfish joy of making music just because I can.
  3. College Roommate – Thirty-something years after we were thrown together as total strangers  in our freshman year at Southern Utah State College, I was able to visit the guy who became a dear friend during one of the most influential years of my life when I had a spring business trip to Sacramento. Greg, here’s to you and Juniper Hall Room B-203.
  4. Tax Clients – It may not seem like the people who are one of my main sources of income could be considered important without also thinking of money. But I have to say, as corny as it sounds, that many of you have become more than clients to me, and I look forward every year to hearing from you so I can say, “Hey, good to see you again! How’s the family?” Thanks.
  5. Elder Sean William Brough – I could list ten great memories just of the experience of being a missionary parent. The dizzying photo taken from the see-through floor of the observation deck of the Sears Tower; the glowing smile on Korina’s face at her baptism; eating at the Mexican restaurant in Kearns owned by the parents of one of Sean’s companions; hearing from a former bishop who ran into Sean on a business trip; and finally the Christmas morning phone call only days ago.  I have completely enjoyed watching from a distance as my son serves in the Illinois Chicago Spanish-speaking mission.
  6. Paul McCartney in Concert – Okay, technically this was not something I didn’t have to pay for. In fact, I paid quite a lot for it! And there’s no shortage of irony in the fact that the guy actually wrote a song, called “Can’t Buy Me Love,” about the subject of this article. But if there was ever a memory that will live forever in my heart, it was the thrill of listening to song after gorgeous song by one of my all-time heroes, with my wife on one side of me and my daughter on the other (singing along, I might add). How cool is my life?
  7. Franck’s – I love good food, I admit it. God knew what he was doing when he sent me to France to serve a mission. This year, I was able to eat twice at this elegant French restaurant owned by former Jazz player Mark Eaton. One time was in August as I celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary with my beautiful wife, Elaine. The other was on Christmas Eve, where we were joined by our daughter. Both times it felt like a symphony of flavors had been played on my tongue. And the company wasn’t bad, either!
  8. World Cup – Like most Americans of my generation, I grew up having not a clue about the sport the rest of the world calls football. But when Sean became a soccer player at age 6, my gradual education began, and by the time he was 14 I was a fan. It’s fair to say that part of my devotion was in support of my son and the thing he loved. But the fact that I sat through a full month of the highest level of competition the sport has to offer, a soccer-based combination of the OIympics and March Madness, with my son nowhere in sight, should be sufficient testament to the fact that I now get it.
  9. Hillcrest Volleyball – This may seem like a repeat of item #1, and certainly they aren’t unrelated. But here’s the twist: When Emma tried out for and made the Hillcrest High School volleyball team as a freshman, it brought back really sweet memories of the four years her brother played soccer at Hillcrest. That was such a great experience I am thrilled to think that we have the same thing ahead of us with Emma. Here’s the other twist: At the end of the season, perhaps because of her on-court enthusiasm, or perhaps because of the fact that she has spent a lifetime tripping over her feet, Emma’s teammates voted her “Concussion Waiting to Happen.”
  10. What Child Is This? – It has been a tradition in Elaine’s family that everyone has to perform at the Christmas party. When the kids were little that often involved dressing in costumes and re-enacting the Nativity. For me, for as long as I’ve been there, it has meant playing my solo guitar piece, entitled “Christmas Eve.”  But this year, it also meant accompanying Emma on my new Cordoba guitar while she sang “What Child is This,” as beautifully as I have ever heard it. So much fun, and a memory to last a lifetime.

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