Life is short. It’s a simple yet powerful reminder that often gets lost in the hustle and bustle of daily life. We all have goals and aspirations, and it’s easy to get caught up in pursuing success and forget the things that truly matter. That recently hit home for me with the passing of Bill Gabbert. I spoke to him on the phone about two weeks before his passing. Knowing that his time was short, he told me to make sure that I made the most of my kids and family and not to work so hard at succeeding that I forgot to have fun.
One of the most important aspects of living a fulfilling life is balancing all aspects that take time, work, family, friends and personal well-being. Unfortunately, many of us fall into the trap of working too much and neglecting these other important areas; I know I am guilty of that on occasion, especially leading up to a magazine release week when there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done.
The phrase “work to live, not live to work” reminds us that our jobs are not the end-all-be-all of our existence. Work is important, and we must provide for ourselves and our families. Still, it should not consume our lives. We should strive to find a balance that allows us to enjoy our work while also making time for the people and activities that bring us joy and fulfillment.
It’s easy to get caught up in the rat race of life, especially during peak fire season when it’s a big season. Between pre-flight, incident briefings, flying, fueling and all of the other daily tasks on a fireground, you can quickly burn more hours than planned, sometimes it is avoidable, and sometimes it isn’t. We accept that as reality, however, we all have a finite amount of time on this earth, and it’s important to use our time wisely. We should strive to find a balance between work and the other essential aspects of our lives to make the most of our time.
It’s also important to remember that a work-life balance doesn’t mean sacrificing career goals, aspirations, or safety. Instead, it’s about finding a balance that allows us to pursue our goals and aspirations while also making time for the things that matter most to us, most importantly, returning safely home at the end of each night. This might mean re-evaluating our goals and priorities from time to time and finding ways to keep that work/life balance achieved.
In summary, every life has an expiry date, so it’s important to remember that our jobs are not the most important thing in our lives. We should strive to find a balance between work and the other aspects of our lives to make the most of our time. While we all enjoy our time in this industry, if we are lucky enough to make it to retirement age, work becomes a thing of the past to look back on fondly, but your family will be there forever. Remember to work to live, don’t live to work.