Pruning the Tree

My friends, does it seem like life is picking up speed? Wasn't it just Sunday or was it Monday. It seems like my friends at Firehouse.com just posted my latest commentary and here I am again pounding the keys on my faithful desktop computer. What is this...


My friends, does it seem like life is picking up speed? Wasn't it just Sunday or was it Monday. It seems like my friends at Firehouse.com just posted my latest commentary and here I am again pounding the keys on my faithful desktop computer. What is this all about?

I have a theory. It is not scientific, but it seems to make sense. When we are young, each day is a larger fraction of our life. As our lives grow longer each day becomes a smaller fraction of the total of our lives. When you are 20 years old one year equals 1/20th of your life. When you are 60 years old one year equals 1/60th of your life. Thus each year is a smaller fraction of the whole, and so it goes for as long as we are allowed the privilege of life.

It seems as though my life is now moving by with the speed of light. It seems like I need to do something that will allow me to enjoy the days as they seemly speed by. Do you feel the same? I cannot be the only one who feels like this. Let me suggest that you and I need to begin being more selective as to how we spend our time. Let me offer this to you as something for your consideration.

The premise of this week's commentary is really quite simple. I am suggesting that you join me in examining the things that we do our lives. Further, it is my suggestion that each of us look for things that can be pruned off of the edges of our tree of life. We need to become selective in how we allocate the remaining years of our lives.

Pruning a tree is something that arborists do to make it grow better and live longer. The dead and dying branches are removed so that the remaining limbs will have a better chance at success and survival. Pruning around the edges of your life is something I am going to suggest will improve the quality of your life.

Let me strongly recommend that by removing the weight of certain burdens, you can free up more of your time for things you really like to do. Many are the moments when I ponder all of the time I have spent away from my family through the years.

In some cases the absences involved work. We all understand that certain sacrifices must be made to pay the bills and keep a roof over our heads. Each of us understands that this is a part of life. There were also those times when I traveled to places to enhance my career. During the decade of my 40's (1987-1997) I spent a great part of my life consciously seeking to improve my knowledge base and build my status within the fire service. I did this to improve my chances of having something rewarding to do in retirement.

Perhaps there are those who might think that I was doing things for selfish reasons. I guess I was looking out for Number 1. Fortunately I was able to avoid stepping in Number 2. At other times I was just trying to curry favor with people that I thought were important. Guess what gang, I wasn't always right. Many of these activities took time away from my family that can never be replaced. Sadly a great deal of your life must be spent pleasing others. This was not an easy thing to do.

Even when I was working a second job as a teacher or serving in the National Guard, I always budgeted time for my wife and children. We always took a vacation in the summer. My wife and I took the kids to church and attended a variety of school activities. Time is a gift that can only be given once, and you need to be sure you do just that.

Many years ago a buddy suggested to me that I devote more time to my family. He was bemoaning all of the time he spent working and wished he has spent more time doing family things. He suggested that my family was still young enough for me to avoid what had happened to him. Thanks to his advice my family and I traveled widely on vacations. My wife and I also took part in a great many of our children's activities.

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