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ďTime is the coin of your life.
It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent.
Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.Ē
~ Carl Sandburg

January 8, 2003

Last week I did something Iíve never done before. I skipped out on a committee meeting even though I technically was in the area and would have been able to attend. The meeting was the day after Christmas. My sister, whom I hadnít seen in months, was visiting at the farm. I had spent Christmas at the farm. I had two choices. I could have left early and come back to town for the meeting. Or I could have stayed at the farm till I had to leave for work that night. Skipping the meeting meant eight more hours to spend with my family. Despite my over-developed sense of responsibility, I skipped the meeting.

I think Iím finally learning whatís important in life.

There are times when you do have to make sacrifices for your job. I have spent months on end giving up my precious free time to put in mandatory overtime at work. Twice a month for the past year, I have skimped on sleep to attend these meetings. But there are times when the cost just isnít worth it.

It is true that sometimes we do have to put work first. However, I think sometimes it just becomes a habit. We donít like to devote so much time to work, but we feel it has to be done. Family time will come later. Vacations will come later. The work has to be done first. Meanwhile, time marches on.

Iím one of the worst offenders. Iím ashamed to say that I actually swallowed my disappointment at having my visit with my sister cut short and planned to come in for that meeting. I seriously considered trading eight hours of family time for a one-hour meeting that probably wouldnít accomplish anything anyway.

Fortunately, I came to my senses.

This quote really hit home to me. We are allotted twenty-four hours in a day, no less, and no more. Certain areas are nonnegotiable. Most of us have to go out and work for certain hours each day. But do we really need to put in all the overtime thatís asked of us? Itís one thing if we have nothing better to do or if weíre desperate for the money, but what if there is something weíd rather be doing? Something thatís actually more important?

With me, itís work. With you, it might be something else. Who are you allowing to spend your coin?