Living a rich life
John is a connoisseur of many things, whether it be motorcycles, cigars, cars, guitars, wine, or firearms. As the eldest of three children, John inherited a third generation car dealership at the ripe age of 23. Fresh out of university, he took the task head-on and was eager to make his Father proud. Having grown up within the automobile industry, John was familiar with much of the practices and was able to take on several leadership roles quickly. As his responsibilities grew, so did the size of his wallet. The apple of his Daddy’s eye, John was soon second in command and effortlessly leading the way to an even greater business.
“Dad was always discussing business with me. It might be the earliest thing I remember him talking to me about. I guess he was grooming me for my future endeavors, not that I minded it. He taught me all kinds of things about cars, that was our bonding time…the same way my grandfather did with him. I tried to do things with my son, well all of my kids, a little differently. I encouraged them to explore and travel, always to try new things.”
John has three children, two daughters and a son. He is very proud of them. It was always important to him that they knew a little bit about everything. He started taking his daughters to the gun range when they were young, he remembers, teaching them what he knew in his time off. He didn’t have a lot of free-time, being the boss does not permit for enormous amounts of time-off. Still, he tried to share with them his interests, the same way his Dad taught him about cars. Traveling was another thing that he introduced his children to at an early age. Whether it be Florida, Las Vegas, or Paris, he tried to make sure they were cultured and knew that life existed outside of the small town they lived in.
“My kids were always everything to me. It is just now, in my older, retired age that I have realized how quickly time flies and how grown they are. I love who they have grown in to but I do miss the days that I missed. Does that sound complicated? What I mean is, I wish I could have been there for more field-trips, more basketball games, more of the ‘teenage-broken-heart days. Those days can never come back around. Not for all of the money in the world. My lifestyle, the life that I live has not always been the life that I love. What I love is my family and no amount of money can turn time around. I don’t necessarily have regrets… I just suggest that people maintain their mental health and happiness just like their physical health. Priorities are important and no matter the situation, no matter the circumstances, I would say to always choose happiness over wealth. Now I know that bills have to get paid, but, I have been rich and I have been poor and what makes me smile is knowing that I can pick up the phone to hear my daughter’s voice or see my son’s face at a Sunday brunch. Take it from a man who has had it all and would give it all away for a few more memories with my kiddos.”
Mental health is important. Happiness is important. And like John suggests, the age-old saying that money cannot buy happiness. Everyone has a different definition of happiness, but it does usually involve people; parents, partners, kids, maybe even a dog. In his retirement, John has been able to revisit one of his first loves; motorcycles. He spends a lot of his time working on bikes, sharing them with others, and going on long rides in the North Carolina warmth. He looks back on his dealership days and recognizes how fast-paced his very early years were. Although he is grateful that he could provide for his family, John is happy to put that all behind him and get on the open road. He looks most forward to spending time with his three kids and three grandchildren.