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  • Jered Stewart

First Things First

This February will be filled with significant events. I’m sure Presidents’ Day will bring about some interesting commentary. Then of course there’s every man’s favorite holiday on February 14th, right gentlemen? And while I’m not referring to Ash Wednesday, it is a funny coincidence that it falls on the same day as Valentine’s Day this year. And did you know that Easter is on April Fool’s Day? And don’t forget the Superbowl on February 4th where the Patriots will likely be crowned kings of the NFL once again with their 6th title. Or the Winter Olympics, which are set to begin in South Korea on February 9th. There are many things we can look forward to…and I’d like to add Spring to that list!

It seems that looking ahead to something is often more enjoyable than the actual event itself. Christmas has come and gone and I’ll admit that the weeks leading up to Christmas are often more enjoyable than the actual day itself. Once the time arrives and has come and gone, there is a let-down, a melancholy sadness that it’s over. Anticipation is fun.

Please don’t mock me for saying this, but as I get older I can’t help but to appreciate the smaller things more and more. As a child I remember adults commenting on a beautiful sunset, or a garden filled with pretty flowers, and I just didn’t get it. “These are silly adults,” I thought. “Why are they amazed at such simple things?” But with each passing year, I now understand that one of the most important things we can do is to stop and enjoy the moment. What’s the rush? Why are we in such a hurry? Why don’t we take a moment, to enjoy the moment?

Recently I’ve been re-reading a book that I read many years ago, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” The third habit in the book is to “put first things first.” While all of the 7 habits are powerful, this habit strikes a chord regarding the importance of priorities. What does it mean to put first things first? It means aligning priorities with values. It means being specific. It means being disciplined. It means work. It means taking that moment, to enjoy the moment. It means doing what is right, no matter how you feel. It’s simple, but not easy.

As we look forward to what’s ahead, perhaps we can consider putting “first things first.” Is your relationship with your spouse, children, parents, or friends what you would like for it to be? Are you living each day with purpose? Regardless of age, ability, or status, we’ve all been given the gift to make decisions each and every day. May we have the courage to decide to live with purpose, on purpose.

And when you read this, I hope the Patriots are still playing. Go Team USA!

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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