Time, Goals, And Roses

Time is our most precious commodity. We ought not to waste it. Time goes by quickly enough without us pushing it. Shortly after the Fourth of July, the stores are having back to school sales. Then when the children actually do go back to school, summer’s over. Whatever happened to September? Summer isn’t officially over until September 21st. Of course, we’re already into Halloween by then.

We spend time foolishly, like there is a never-ending bucket into which we can dip. We spend Monday looking forward to Friday. Morning waiting for evening. January pining for April. In June we look forward to the tomatoes and corn we’ll be eating in August. When our child is two, we can’t wait for him to be out of diapers, when he’s three; we can’t wait ‘til he’s in school. When he’s ten we look forward to the time when we will no longer need to pay a ‘baby sitter’.

When you think about it, the most valuable thing we have to spend in a lifetime is time itself. Still, many of us spend our precious time rushing to get to the future; that next time, that next marker. Yes, I know many have written about taking time to smell the roses. This is just another one of ‘those’. But, it’s really not. Why? Because it’s more about balance than it is about one side or the other. That’s where goals come in. We don’t want to come to the end of the road and find a dead end.

We can waste precious time when we don’t pursue our goals. The kind of goals I’m talking about are different for each of us, not the prescribed goals, the time markers, ones we don’t necessarily think much about. The first day of school, high school graduation, then college, then marriage and a job, having children; and what then? Retirement… Poof… just like that we’ve reached our destination, our goal in life… a successful retirement! Retirement in and of itself however, is not an appropriate life’s goal. More often than not, the only thing we’ve really accomplished is that we’ve used up much of our precious time allotment.

The kind of goals I’m talking about are the ones we choose. They give us purpose, hope and meaning. Perhaps learning to water ski and feeling the exhilaration of traveling through the wind with warm water splashing on your ankles is a goal worthy of your time and energy. Maybe an intellectual goal would be more fitting for some. Becoming familiar with the works of the great philosophers can be a satisfying achievement, or having a successful vegetable garden. For some, good relationships are the most important thing. Achieving our self-chosen goals makes us feel good, and rightly so. We ought to take pleasure in our achievements.

The pursuit of goals can contribute to our fortune, our satisfaction with our lives, or to our nemesis. Too much focus on achievement distracts us from smelling the roses. Smelling the roses is great, but it can be overdone too. Time passes too quickly, too carelessly, without goals.

Most of us are not going to contribute anything that will have a major impact on the rest of us. Perhaps our children and our grandchildren will remember some small contribution we’ve made to their future development. For the most part most of us, myself included, are just ordinary people journeying through life. All we really have is time. Time and goals and roses…

—M. LaCourt

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