What is the most valuable commodity available to each and every one of us? Might I suggest that it is time? It 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. Some day the bell will toll for each of us.
The figure of time most often listed for each of us in this world is three score and ten years. At least this is the Biblical suggestion for each of us. As one who has spent nearly four decades in the emergency service world, I can say that I have seen a much lower number on a great many occasions. However, let us ponder the figure of 70 years. When I was younger, 70 seemed so much older. Now the closer I get, the younger 70 seems to be.
Let me now ask you another critical question? Are you using your time wisely? Do you have goals set out for yourself, and are you making any progress toward them, or are you flailing about in search of whatever seems popular this week.
This matter regarding time has been a question often on my mind lately. I suggest that I have set out an extraordinarily intensive course for the year 2004. I have set a great many goals, and each will require a great deal of effort on my part. Is it that way for you? I have the feeling that 2004 will end up being a blur for me.
In order to help you focus on where I am headed with this commentary, let me suggest that we can lay out a plan for life. I will do it in a manner befitting the prerogatives of an expert in organizational design. Quite simply, life is a series of tasks that are accomplished on a daily basis. Some of these are fun, while others are not. However, they all fall into three distinct categories:
- Must do things
- Should do things
- Things that are 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. We then tend to toss up a whole bunch of excuses or avoidance mechanisms. Therefore, I shall try to keep this little discussion as simple as possible.
First a 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. You have to believe in something. I am not advocating any religion over any other faith. I am suggesting that each of us has to believe in something outside of our control and ourselves.
How often do we ignore these responsibilities? How often to we pledge our allegiance to someone other than our God or our family? I suggest that many times our priorities are out of whack. My story should lend some credence to that thought.
As for devotion to family, let me share a lesson with you. 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 upon me, as they are a part of the price that 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 can honestly say that I don