As I write this, your great grandfather (my grandfather) was just admitted to the hospital and is likely awaiting heart bypass surgery. Being the oldest grandchild, I have many years of memories with your great grandfather. Everything from riding horses, to working in the Christmas trees, to seeing him at my basketball games. And likely my favorite memory of all, a month-long trip with him in his RV on the Alaska and Cassiar highways to Anchor Point, Alaska, and back. I even lived at his place in his bunkhouse for several months soon after college.
We don’t yet know what the outcome of the next few days will bring for your great grandfather. However, it has really caused me to pause this morning and examine some of the stress and priorities in my own life at this point.
Time Well Spent.
In this past year, really since you were born, I have really adjusted how I allocate my time. I have spent a large amount of time with you and your mother in your first year of life, taking off many work days in order to soak up as much of this time as possible (and in order to give your mother a break from watching you all the time). I am so, so, grateful that I made the decision to prioritize our time as a family as we figure out how to adjust to what life looks like with a child. I don’t, and know I never will, regret the amount of time that I took off from work to be with you and your mother.
To my surprise, the business has continued to grow even with less time spent over this past year. However, I do know that there was potential for it to have grown even more if I had spent more time in it. And now, as you continue to grow up, I am beginning to feel some, perhaps unfounded, guilt that I am not growing my business to what it could be due to the reduced amount of time spent on it. There is a very large demand for independent financial planners right now and so many people that could benefit from sound financial advice. And I truly do enjoy my work and helping people plan for the future. I struggle in finding the right balance.
However, this brings us back to right now, and to your great grandfather. We truly don’t know how much time any of us have. I hope to have many more years with my grandfather. But in the simple words of Gandalf “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” My top jobs right now are “husband” and “father”. So much in life consists of trade-offs. I now have the benefit of hindsight with this past year and am able to see that the trade-offs I made were the right ones. And I have decided to continue to make these tradeoffs in the future.
Growth or success in other areas of my life will continue to take a backseat to striving to be a Godly and present husband and father. I have little doubt that 10, 20, and 50 years from now I will ever say, “I really wish I had spent more of my time building my business instead of with my family.”
I hope that you too will see, early on in your life, the benefit of prioritizing those things that are truly important. It will lead to a much fuller life and one with far less regret.