Making the Right Choice
Having completed my 59th trip around the sun, I continue to gain wisdom. The biggest learning I continue to have is what to say “yes” to and what to say “no” to. Being a pleaser of others, it has always been hard for me to say no and the fact that I have a wide range of interests makes this negative response even more difficult.
My in-laws have always been a great source of support and wisdom for me and my mother in law gave me a phrase many years ago that I see playing out more each day:
“The days are long, but the years are short”
As each trip around the sun progresses, it feels like the time of each revolution continues to shorten, while in fact I know this is not true. As a result of this, I have worked hard to spend more time doing a few things well and less time doing more things. This has resulted in me disengaging from a few activities that I enjoyed, but it has also involved me learning how to say no to things I would have said yes to before.
Even more than this, I also try to reflect and think more about where I spend my time, especially when it comes to my family. I was fortunate when our sons were young to get involved in their activities, such as Scouting. I have many great stories to tell as a father of two Eagle Scouts, and the relationships we all formed spending quality time with others will never be diminished.
I also see that there is value in spending time with my sons in their adulthood. There were days, maybe ten years ago, when my advice didn’t carry as much influence, but now I sense that what I have to share might have more value. Maybe that is my perception and perhaps that is their growth, or maybe I have just gotten smarter; who knows.
It makes me proud to see my 28 and 30 year old sons become productive members of society and I look forward to seeing them continue to grow and mature in the coming years.
Another phrase that I often reflect upon is this one:
“No one ever laid on their death bed and wished they had spent more time at work”
Don’t get me wrong; I love the work that I do.
On the other hand, every time I get a chance to spend time with my family, I’ll take that opportunity.
My thought in closing is that when you really get down to the most basic issues in our life, all we have to offer others is our time and attention. Money is nice, but time and attention are far superior.