Friday, July 31, 2009

Life is short

I'd love to say with no hesitation that CPR saves lives every single time. But the reality is that it doesn't. For some people when it is their time to pass away, it is just that. It is their time - and we have to accept that.

This is not meant to be a morbid post, but rather a reflection upon how short life can be. Tonight I attended a wake for a former co-worker who is not that much older than I am. He leaves behind a beautiful family and a community that he was heavily involved with.

As I drove home I started to think about how short life can be and sometimes how much time we waste on things that perhaps are not as important in the bigger picture. I have had a very stressful week full of car problems, extra bills (thanks to my car) and some hurt feelings at home. But tonight I realized that all those things that I stressed and obsessed about all week really shouldn't define or direct how I live my life from day to day. Many others have said that we define and set the path of our own happiness and yes they are true. Sometimes it takes a sad or tragic event to pull us out of our daily grind and provide us with the reminder to take a look at the big picture. The challenge is not to make this a short single event reflection, but to look at what we should and could be doing to make the time we do have as happy, enriching, and yes as productive as it can be.

For me I have realized that I am spending too much time obsessing on things and on social media; and not enough time with my family and business. I know I reasonably cannot completely change my habits overnight, but I am committing to making my daily interactions with my family and friends matter. My family is why I mostly work from home and I need to re-prioritize that in my daily routine. Even though I am with my children 160-164 hours a week, just being within proximity is not the same as being with them. My attention is not with them if I am checking email, websites, etc. I have so many people who have reached out to me in friendship and networking that I have not fully reciprocated with, and that is to my detriment.

So perhaps I am standing on soapbox that I will promptly fall off of tomorrow. Hopefully not. But while I am sad of the events that have brought me to this self reflection I am hoping that I am able to learn from this. Life is short. We don't know how long we have to make an impact on others, nor do I think any of us want to really know how long we're going to be around. The question for each of us is how do we want others to remember us and how do we really want to spend our lives. What is our bigger picture, and who and how do we want to fit into that frame.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Do your kids know their address?

I’ve mentioned in a previous post that I work part time as an emergency dispatcher. I had a call recently from 2 children ages 8 and 10. Fortunately they were not in any danger but our response to them was difficult because they could not tell us their home address and were calling from a cell phone that was only enabled for 911 so we had no actual return number to locate an address from. This was challenged by a bad cell phone connection and their vague description of where they were.

As your children become old enough to play outside without a parent in attendance make sure that they know their street address and home phone number. This information is important if there is an emergency so that we can find them and locate their parents.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Reorganizing Priorities

Lately I’ve been neglecting my blog, my social networking and my business. This is hard because I enjoy all of these things. But I’ve been working and reading a bit more lately. One of the books I’ve been reading has a great quote that sums it all up, Life gets in the way.

I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed by the myriad responsibilities that have come my way lately. I know I volunteer way too much and I also am not good at saying NO when asked to help out. This is also a slow period for my business so I have been working more at my part time job. So when I have a free moment (hah!) there is so much that needs to be done that I can’t figure out which to do first so most of it does not get done. And I know that this is not unique to me and that this probably happens to a lot of us.

A good friend at work recently lent me two books. Both are inspiration and thought provoking. I’m taking my time to slowly read and reflect on them. I need to reprioritize my life, add more fun family time and yet still accomplish what needs to be done each day. This is a very fine balancing act that will require me to think of new daily strategies to meet these goals. It will not be an overnight process but will take some time and some help from my family. I’ve come to realize that I can be a better parent, person and friend if I take the time to step back, refocus and reprioritize, and then move forward in whatever direction I discover I need to take.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Is phone courtesy dead?

I have a part time job at a dispatch center. As a part-time dispatcher with 4 kids, a husband with an odd work schedule and my own small business, I don’t work all that frequently. So when I answer the phone not everyone knows who I am and vice versa, I can’t recognize everyone’s voice. And since we dispatch for over 20 towns there is no way I could know everyone anyway.

So I have this interesting non-emergency phone call the other day, it goes like this:

Me: I say the name of the agency and my last name
Caller: “Who is this?”
Me: I say the name of the agency again, and then “how can I help you?”
Caller: says the name of their ambulance service and asks for some info
Me: “Hold on while I look that up”
Caller: then begins talking to someone else in the room, WHILE HOLDING THE PHONE IN FRONT OF HER MOUTH, “I don’t know who this is, I don’t recognize her name”
Me: “Hi, Are you talking to me? I’m still here”
Caller: “I’m not talking to you”

So I ignore her, but quite frankly if you’re going to talk about someone you’re on the phone with to someone else in the room common courtesy would be to not speak about them to them. Move the phone away from your mouth. Another important point about phone courtesy is if you don’t know the person you’re speaking with at least identify yourself before asking who they are. If someone called my home and immediately asked who I was I would either ask them to identify themselves first or hand up on them.

What has happened to phone courtesy these days? Is it dead?