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Use the time you have to make magic

Working from home has its advantages. Our neighbor, Bradley, came over at lunch last week. He is still going to school virtually. Bradley is 8 years old. Lynnda answered the door. “Bradley wants to know if you can come out and catch football.” I figured it’s lunch time so I went out to play with Bradley. Midget football was canceled in the fall because of COVID. Bradley is playing a football spring season. I was surprised to see how well Bradley can throw a football. He throws a nice spiral pass. I asked Bradley how he learned to throw a football so well. He responded, “You taught me.” The last time we threw a football together was before the pandemic. His hands are bigger so he can grip the ball better. Bradley remembered what we practiced over a year ago. This was a magic moment to me.

We all have 24 hours a day. The big decision we all have to make is how we will use our 24 hours. Last week I talked about the people who get stuff done. These people have learned to focus on what is important and make the most of the 24 hours they have been given. Time is a gift. Money may be important but time is more important.

2020 was a difficult year. The USA has lost over 500,000 people to COVID. Lynnda and I lost a number of friends and relatives in 2020. Only one was to COVID, the rest had other health issues. Our friends and relatives didn’t wish they had spent more time at work or had more money. They all wanted better health and more time with family and friends.

In 2020 we lost our ability to spend time with family and friends. Sadly, we hadn’t seen our family members who passed in months. We are making up for lost time in 2021. My daughter and her husband came to visit from Maryland on my birthday. We did a 7-mile training run and had time to just talk like we did before the pandemic. We never spent that much time together on a Zoom call. We have spent time with all of our kids face to face in 2021. I saw my brothers for the first time in over a year. I got to catch baseball with my youngest grandson. He asked me to bring my baseball glove when we went to visit them. I had to look for my glove. I’m glad I found it. We had fun.

Another magic moment.

We always need to use common sense when it comes to safety and health. I worked in an industry full of hazards. We learned how to do tasks safely. The mind set was always not if but how can we do things safely. Disney has found how to operate a theme park full of attractions and restaurants and do it safely. We felt safer in Walt Disney World than in our local retail and grocery stores and we feel safe in them. Face to face meetings and conferences have restarted. We know how to do them safely.

People are traveling again. At a recent business meeting all five of us routine flyers hadn’t been on an airplane in over a year. That will change this month. When I visited my brothers in Pittsburgh the hotel I stayed at was full. There was a local hockey tournament. I saw teams from 3 states. Disney still requires us to make theme park reservations. That is becoming increasingly difficult as more people are traveling. The good news is we are returning to normal. People are getting to spend time again face to face with family and friends.

How are you spending your time? We need to earn money for life’s necessities and to be able to do things like vacation. Focusing on money alone can leave us empty. I have never talked to anyone near the end of their life who wished they had spent more time in the office. They wish they had spent more time with family rather giving up vacation time. They wish they had gotten to know their kids better when they were young. Children grow up fast. We don’t get a redo. I knew a manager who was so busy he never saw his daughter cheer during high school. Now it is too late. It seems like only yesterday all my kids were playing soccer. I was coaching them or attending their games. Now they are the coaches.

We have one shot at life. We need to use it, in my opinion, to make the world a better place. We need to make a positive difference and avoid regrets. What would your family, friends and the people you worked with say about you if they spoke at your funeral? Balancing work and life is hard but possible. One way is to schedule family time like we do our work and it will happen. We attended a conference in Wheeling recently. When it ended I knew I would be close to my brothers in Pittsburgh and my granddaughter’s college. We were able to visit our granddaughter and have a weekend dinner with my brothers. It cost me a hotel room and time. It was worth it.

Put critical family dates on the calendar as soon as you can. You will schedule around them. Volunteer time is also important. We have been blessed to learn a lot in life. Our experience and knowledge need to be shared not just taken to our grave.

Time is a gift. Watching a beautiful sunset with Lynnda this week was a magic moment. Do your best to live a life without regret. How are you spending your time now? If you don’t like what you see you can change. Make a positive difference.

Greg Kozera, gkozera@shalecrescentusa.com, is the director of marketing and sales for Shale Crescent USA. He is a professional engineer with a master’s in environmental engineering who has over 40 years’ experience in the energy industry. He is the author of four books and numerous published articles.

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