More People, More Time, Less Stuff

11/21/2014 3:18:21 PM

We’ve arrived at Thanksgiving week, which means the hustle and bustle of the holiday season is just beginning. Once our turkeys have been eaten and our bellies are stuffed, most of us are in holiday mode from here on out. Holiday shopping, holiday plans, holiday travel, holiday parties… It’s all too easy to get caught up in the activity and miss out on the things that really matter. 
There will always be times in life when we feel we’re like the rope in a tug of war, and it doesn’t only happen this season.

When we’re consumed with busyness, there are two formidable competitors pulling us in opposite directions. On one end are the key people in our lives with whom we have relationships. They want (and deserve) our time and attention, to grow with us and enjoy great times together. On the other end is a formidable opponent—the “big three,” namely status, career, and wealth and everything that flows from them. Like most things, these are fine in moderation, but taken to an extreme (as they often are), they can destroy relationships. They can easily consume our time and energy and divert us from our priorities and core values if we’re not careful.

During the past few decades, we’ve witnessed a cultural shift toward accumulating things, rather than pursuing in-depth relationships. You see it everywhere, especially from retailers during the holiday season. Growing up, Christmas shopping didn’t start until after Thanksgiving. Now it begins before Halloween, with some retailers even encroaching on their employees’ Thanksgivings in search of a little extra revenue. Everywhere you turn, it’s, “buy, buy, buy.”
You also see it in people consumed by their careers and with disrespecting employers demanding their employees respond to evening emails.  This is all part of the pervasive (and often distracting) influence of technology in our lives. It’s all causing our focus to shift AWAY from relationships—what really matters.
This holiday season, let’s all remember how truly important we are to others and how important others are to us. Let’s strive to reflect this in our priorities and in how we spend our time. We can never get back the time we didn’t spend with our loved ones.
May today, this week, and this holiday season, be a time of renewed commitment to the things that really matter—the people in your life who need all of you.
How are you spending the bulk of your time and energy? Are you focusing enough on building stronger relationships with family and friends? Or, are you allowing other things to dominate your priorities?