Over the past couple of weeks, I have had a couple of friends who have lost a family member. It is times like this that make me cherish the time I have had with my own family in the past and the present. It has me reflecting about making time for the people I still have in my life and not use excuses to keep us apart.
My sister lives far away from me but we stay connected through phone calls, text messages and facetime. We share the love of knitting and crocheting. We drifted apart when I was in college and she was raising a family. Now that we are older, we seem to have more in common, less competitive, and want to connect.
My parents are in their 90s and I try to call them often as well as visit them in Florida as much as I can. Even though it is hard to have a conversation with them over the phone (their hearing and my southern accent sometimes makes communicating hard), it is important that I connect with them.
My daughter stays in touch with us almost daily and we frequently meet for lunch or hiking. Our relationship is so much better now than when she was a teenager and I’m thankful that we have evolved into this.
Life is so short but when we are living it, sometimes it feels like we have all the time in the world. When we are young, we want to be older. When we are struggling in life, time seems to go so slow. Sometimes we are in a hurry for the future to get here that we forget to appreciate the present.
When I get annoyed with family members, I try to stop and think about how I would feel if something happened to them tomorrow. Usually that puts things in perspective and I can be more patient or make better decisions.
I try to do the same thing with my students. I try to imagine how I would feel about my actions tomorrow. By doing this, I think I am making a good role model for them especially if I sometimes explain how I make some of my decisions. Hopefully they can use the same strategy for their decision making. When deciding something, I sometimes make the problem bigger than it should be and by thinking about how I will feel about my decision in the future, it makes the problem more realistic. If my decision doesn’t really make a difference to anyone, I can choose what I want to do. But if the decision is going to make a big impact on my life or someone else’s life, I need to do the right thing which might not always be what I want to do. This rationale also helps me accept the decision that I must make.
Last week a friend of mine was trying to make a decision that was important to her and I shared with her my strategy. I hope it helped her put things in perspective and made the decision making easier.
What things do you do to cherish time? Please share.
Original picture by Donna Ripley