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Let me begin this month’s visit with you by asking a simple, but ultimately profound question. What is the most valuable commodity that you I have available to us? Some might say money, while others might suggest love or health.
Might I suggest that it is time? Time is something that can never be replaced. It is something that there is only so much of. Many of us seem to live life as though there were no end to it. Sadly, that is not the case. Someday, the bell will toll for each of us.
Are you using your time wisely? Do you have goals set out for yourself? Are you making any progress toward them, or are you flailing about in search of whatever seems popular this week? Quite simply, life is a series of tasks that are accomplished on a daily basis. Some of these are fun, others are not. However, they all fall into three distinct categories:
- Must do
- Should do
- Nice to do
I realize that this is a fairly simplistic view of life, but I think we need to look at it in this way. When things get complicated for us, frustration tends to set in and we toss up a bunch of excuses or avoidance mechanisms. So I shall try to keep this little discussion as simple as possible.
First, look at the must-do things. Our first priority should be an active devotion to those we love and the respect we owe to our family and our faith. I am not advocating any religion over any other faith. I am suggesting that each of us has to believe in something outside of ourselves and our control.
How often do we ignore these responsibilities? I suggest that many times our priorities are out of whack. Let me share a lesson. I spent many years working a variety of jobs to make ends meet. I also spent a great deal of time on the road working to grow my place within the fire service. I now know that I can never replace those moments away from my family. They weigh heavily on me, as they are a part of the price I paid to be where I am today. I suggest that you ponder the level of commitment you wish to make to the fire service.
Would I do things differently, if I could do them over again? I don’t know. What I do suggest is that there could have been a better balance. That is my lesson to you. Do not just do things because they are there to do. Weigh the impact of what you wish to do against the cost to you and your family for that course of action.
For most of us, work falls under the must-do category. I can think of no one in my circle of acquaintances who is independently wealthy. Many people think that since I am receiving a pension, I have no need to work. That is not exactly true.
I know just how much money I will get from the state each month, and I know how much I must spend each month to keep the Carter family afloat. There is a difference. I must of necessity write, lecture and consult in municipal fire protection. Fortunately for me, I enjoy each of these activities a great deal.
Unfortunately, for many of you, the working world can serve as an area of stress, anxiety and turmoil. It is a must-do event that provides the necessities of life for your family and you have to do it. You work with people who do not have your high regard for work and dedication. You may work with people who do just enough to get by. That is a simple fact of life.
Problems are problems the world over. How you handle these problems is up to you. Be yourself, and try not to let others control your emotions. This is not easy, but let me assure you that if you fail to try, you will surely fail to live a happy and healthy life. Problems left to their own devices will only get worse. Trust me on that one.
The world of should-do things is quite simple. Here are a few examples: