“How did it get so late so soon?” – Dr. Seuss

I look at each day as a wonderful gift. The gift of time. An opportunity to create something. A chance to begin or finish a project. An occasion to make someone smile. Or, just a break in the day of life to just sit and watch a butterfly. Butterfly time, or what it represents, is so important – at least important to me.

I try not to look back at yesterday, because yesterday is gone. I try not to think about tomorrow because tomorrow never comes. When someone thinks, “I’ll do this tomorrow.” What they really mean is, “I’m not going to get this done.” Because, when you wake up in the morning, it is not tomorrow – it is today.

So, I focus on today. I do not care if it is sunny or cloudy, hot or cold, snowy or rainy. I always have projects which need my attention. People who are counting on me. Places I need, or want to be. Individuals I find interesting and with whom I want to share ideas.

Therefore, every morning, I put on my clothes, at least most of them, pour a fresh hot cup of coffee, read the newspaper, fill up the bird feeders, take a tour of the gardens and then say to myself, “Now, what are you going to accomplish today? What are your priorities? You have responsibilities and commitments. Time to get started.”

For me, the success or failure of each day comes down to time management. Something that has always been a struggle. Although lately, I thought I was doing much better, especially with my wife Sandra’s guidance. I had a monthly calendar, weekly reminders in front of me on my computer screen, automated phone reminders, written deadlines, and specific goals for each day. It all looked good, but I was failing miserably. Failing to be happy and satisfied at the end of each day.

When I looked within, I could see “the elephant in the room” – the obvious truth I refused to accept. The quality of everything I was trying to accomplish was suffering. I was forcing too many projects, meetings were unproductive, and I was over-extending myself with commitments. My 12-hour days became alphabet soup.

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After many discussions, Sandra and I agreed, it was time for some hard choices. And they were hard choices. I so enjoy all my writings: books, website and blog, newspaper, and Facebook and Twitter posts. However, all were suffering, in my opinion.

And there was my commitment to community involvement. A few projects were productive. A couple have become stagnant and frustrating. Nevertheless, it all comes down to time spent, balanced against measurable results.

The physical activities I enjoy: helping Sandra in her flower gardens, my vegetable garden, yoga and stability ball exercises, and my golf game. It seemed I was always “trimming” time from one and not truly enjoying the others. On golf: As poorly as I play, as humiliating and humbling as it is, it brings me joy. It is the whole experience, not just the ‘hole’ experience – hearing the ball rattle in the cup.

And perhaps, not at the top of my list, but very close, my “Butterfly time.” Time to just sit, think, and let my thoughts go where they want. This was the one activity that suffered the most. Sandra and I used to sit on our patio almost every evening when the weather permitted. I cannot remember the last time on the patio.

Hard choices. We all have them. We avoid many. Nevertheless, we must make them. Unless you want to spend the rest of your life on a merry-go-round. Going round and round and never getting anywhere. Except getting dizzy.

For me, I will be eliminating a few of my civic commitments. One will be scaled back tremendously. With two others, I will resist the temptation to test their waters. I am a good swimmer but not that good, especially in rough waters. However, I will never give up on trying to make a difference.

Similarly, I will begin to focus more on my re-designed website, blog, and newsletter. Writing the blog provides the freedom of topic, plenty of space for detailed opinions and historically accurate information, plus, I am not locked into a time. The newsletter will deliver up-to-date information on my present and future book(s).

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Regarding social media: I will limit my time to a few brief posts and tweets – when I have something social to say. I have come to the conclusion, (most) social media is “fast food for the brain.” Give it fast. Keep it short. “Click”, move on. For me, it will NOT be a place to slander, disparage, or fuel hate and discontent. It will be a ‘social’ and ‘keep up with’ place. That is just me.

Now, the one decision which has perhaps been the most difficult: This will be my last column for The Clarksburg Post. I would like to thank my editor, Andy Walker and his staff for the opportunity to write for such a growing and informative news outlet. It has been a rewarding 14 months and I hope I have provided you, my readers, with something to THINK about. But, it is time to move on. As the title of my story says, “We have only today.”

However, I will continue to write “editorial style” articles for my blog, (Hello World) on my website (michaelslambiotte.com), where I will cover a variety of topics including, but not limited to politics (a personal favorite), lifestyles, and the whimsical side of life. If you like what you read, or if it makes you mad but you can’t stop reading, you will be able to sign up for regular delivery through your email once we work out a couple glitches in the sign-up process.

And finally, I would like to leave you with this: Begin now! Begin examining your own life. Think about what really makes you happy and what makes you feel good at the end of each day. Make the hard decisions. Then, and only then, you will breathe deeper. However, among all your decisions, please remember, “Always make time to just sit and watch a butterfly.”

“We have only today,”
Michael