STRAIGHT TALK: Time to use time wisely before it slips away

Steve Stefanides Guest opinion

All of us share one very valuable item in our lives. The value of it is the same, no matter our net worth, the size of the house we live in, the cost of the vehicles we drive or what we do for a living. That one entity is “time.”

I couldn’t help think about that this weekend as I reflected upon my life and that of my dad who had passed away 50 years ago this coming November.

This was the 50th year we saw a Father’s Day celebration come and go without the person of honor.

This all made me think about what we might have enjoyed had he lived beyond the short 45 years of his life and what we might have done differently had we known that precious commodity of “time” would be so short.

I think how we spend our time, what we accomplish with it and with whom, might be one of the greatest challenges we face in the hectic lives we live.

There are only 24 hours in the day and that is usually divided between work, sleep and eating to support all of what we do. It would be nice if someone else could accomplish much of what must be done by us during that 24 hours, but that is not possible, and no one can live our lives for us.

One of the most important factors in living our lives involves our personal relationships with others. Our families, spouses or significant other, friends and acquaintances. These seem to suffer the most as we attempt to squeeze them into that 24-hour period, or more likely they are squeezed out due to a lack of time for them.

More often than not, we hear someone complain that they wish they had more time to spend with those that meant so much to them after they had passed. I would have to plead guilty to that, as I’ve said that more times than I care to share.

A disturbing statistic from the 2010 Census shows 15 million children living in households without a father and 5 million without a mother. This places an inordinate amount of pressure of that one caregiver to provide for those sons and daughters, while sacrificing quality time as they struggle to make a living to provide for their family.

But even the picture-perfect family unit struggles with allocation of time, for in many cases they, too, find themselves torn between so many responsibilities between work and home life that they lose sight of what is important.

The battle to spend our time wisely and consider our own personal needs is also one that is constantly raging within us. Taking time for ourselves and not just concentrating on other pursuits is very important if we are to maintain a balance in our own lives.

I am always so amazed to see so many individuals in our community giving back to those in need or involved in other endeavors that benefit others. They spend their time wisely and find it therapeutic to involve themselves in these wonderful endeavors as they seek to use their time judiciously.

One of my all-time favorite movies was “The Bucket List,” starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.

Two men from two different backgrounds struggling to come to terms with who they were and what they had accomplished in their lives. It was a moving and entertaining reflection on the importance of using our time wisely and taking the opportunity to do the things we’d like to accomplish and having no regrets, although pushing the envelope a bit during the film.

I hope we all think a little more about the time we have here and use it wisely. Don’t let the time come when you regret not picking up the phone and calling a friend from the past or jumping into the car and taking that trip you always wanted to take.

Do it for yourself, do it for those you love and maybe think about making up your own “bucket list” and set out on the adventure of a lifetime.