Treasure Chest


I went to bed last night with a sense of accomplishment. After devoting at least three full days developing a presentation for a conference where I’m speaking next month, it felt good to be done. In addition, I didn’t wait until the last minute, which is generally my modus operandi. Interestingly, the presentation is simply a tapestry of stories. Some of the stories I plan to share are mine, most are others, but they highlight keys to effective living.


Two or three people knowing how I was spending my time expressed surprise. I thought you were retired was the primary response they articulated as though they’d just identified a character flaw that was unacceptable. One lady expressed the thought: “You and my husband are just a same. You spend hours working on projects and I can promise you when your dead and gone no one from the company will even remember you”.


Across the years when I was obsessively investing an inordinate amount of time associated with work, I had the thought if I took a very long vacation probably no one would remember me when I returned. “Don who?” might be their response to my re-appearance. Fortunately, it hasn’t worked out that way. I don’t often travel north the fifty-one miles I used to commute to work everyday, but when I do I’m always greeted with a welcome that seems genuine and sincere.


Is it true that retirement should be filled with carefree living? Should you be free from figuratively punching a time clock or managing the stress of deadlines? Shouldn’t your biggest hurdle be determining the destination of your next trip or fun-filled activity?


I had the good fortune of loving my work so it felt more like an expression of who I am rather that a ball and chain that kept me anchored in place. So is it a character flaw to periodically reach back into the resources of one’s skill set and attempt to resurrect an opportunity to still be creative and express that part of my identity?


This isn’t about padding my pockets with extra money. It has nothing to do with money. This is the kind of opportunity that money can’t buy. The conference where I’ve been invited to speak is pro bono. I am gaining nothing financially from the experience and I’m investing my personal resources to cover the cost of travel. It has more to do with the thrill of the chase than finding the prize.


There are folks for whom finding the gold is an obsession. A clever 85-year-old millionaire, former fighter pilot in Vietnam, self-made archaeologist and art dealer in Santa Fe, New Mexico has orchestrated the kind of adventure that many can’t pass up.


Reportedly, the bronze chest filled with gold and precious gems is not even buried treasure, but it is located somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. The only person who knows the actual location of the treasure chest is Forest Fenn, the man behind the treasure. Consequently, he reportedly says of himself: “If I die tomorrow, the knowledge of that location goes in the coffin with me.”


Fenn wrote a self-published book entitled “The Thrill of the Chase” and provided the following information: “The ornate Romanesque box is 10-by-10 inches and is hidden in the Rocky Mountains, somewhere between Santa Fe and the Canadian border at an elevation of 5,000 feet. It is not in a mine, a graveyard or near a structure”. He also included a poem in his book disclosing clues to the treasure chest’s location.


One stanza includes these words:

Begin it where warm waters halt

And take it in the canyon down,

Not far, but too far to walk.

Put in below the home of Brown”.


In terms of my quest for the thrill of the chase, the payoff is having the ability to craft a message that is interesting and thought provoking. The information has to be relevant enough to hold the hearer’s attention and be a worthwhile investment of their time.


Of course, having the written script is only the first half of my journey. Finding the ability to present it in a thoughtful and informative way is the other half of the adventure. I guess you could say, “I’m only half done.”


Nothing I have to share is rocket science. It is as commonplace as the kind of wisdom your grandfather had to share when you were a kid. At some level, aren’t we still all kids who like nothing more than a similar connection that warms one’s soul?


All My Best!