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December 3, 2003 by Naomi Redding

Every now and then it is helpful to stand back and examine one’s own existence; by taking an objective look at our accomplishments, shortcomings and continuing dreams we realize the areas which need improvement. It is all too easy to lose sight of our long term goals and ambitions as we work on our short-term tasks.

This semester has been a difficult time for me to learn that I cannot do everything that I want to and be wonderful in all of them. My efforts have been spread like one spoonful of jam on several pieces of toast. I simply have attempted to do too many things at once and, accordingly, I have been disappointed by my performance in several areas.

What do I value the most? I value love, honesty, ethical behavior, happiness, fun, diligence and timeliness. Timeliness is one area that I know needs improving. I try to maximize my minutes by waiting until the last moment to head for class or to meetings but I should leave sooner and arrive on time. When I played basketball in high school my coach would say, “If you’re early you’re on time; if you’re on time you’re late; if you’re late you’re left behind.” I frequently find myself in the second two categories but I’d like to be early more often. This can only happen if I make the conscious decision to arrive early. I commit to rush less and to leave sooner in order to be on time for my activities. This is a matter of respect and time management.

Time ticks on regardless of whether we’re watching or not. That’s important to know, but not something to focus on. What’s better to focus on is enjoying the time as you’ve got it. “Profitez!” is what the French say for this. ‘While you’re here, enjoy yourself on the beaches of Nice.’ Relax. Don’t worry about school or work or obligations at home. Back to the theory of dedication: 100% work or 100% play is better than thinking of vacation while you’re on the clock or dreading paperwork as you’re supposed to be relaxing in a tropical clime. Fully enjoy what you’re doing at the time. Make the most of it. Look for the good wherever you are. These are things I need to do more.

I believe that after we die we are not lost or go to a specific place—rather we have new life. Heaven and hell are conscious states of mind that are present everywhere. Choosing happiness results in living in a heavenly atmosphere.
Space and time are not limitations after we die. It is easy for me to imagine that some people are reincarnated as animals or perhaps even plants as well as people. And what is time in the face of eternity? Perhaps it is a map on which we move about. I see no reason why I might not be reborn into the Renaissance or far into the future. Wouldn’t it be interesting if we were given the choice of space and time for our next life? What and where would you choose? Other galaxies might be interesting to explore. There are simply too many stars in the sky for me to believe that ours is the only planet which has highly developed life. It’s an interesting adventure that awaits us. I would recommend the out-of-print book Short Visit to Ergon by E.M. Osborn.

Every day offers a new opportunity for improvement. Here is a poem in the diamante form which describes the relationship of my life at this moment to the life I plan to have:

__________________________________Difficult, able
____________________________Studying, stressing, sleeping
__________________Assignments, meetings, responsibilities, accomplishments
___________________________Succeeding, improving, enjoying
__________________________________ Bright, active

I understand that life is not easy and I believe that we are all capable of succeeding despite all obstacles. I admire those people who begin new hobbies later in their life. It is never too late to change—

My sister Rachel ended a letter with a helpful reminder which I’ve enlarged and put on my wall: “p.s. have fun, but make sure your work gets done!” As I continue to rebalance my schedule I am keeping her advice in mind. Family is one of life’s greatest gifts and I am grateful for the good times that we share.

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