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Remember what is important in life

October 28, 2012
By CRAIG HOWELL , Weirton Daily Times

A friend posted a story on Facebook the other day. It's something I think we all should read and keep in mind from time to time.

These days it is easy to get overwhelmed by life. With work, taking kids to school or activities, chores, civic commitments, bills, and often having to do much more with fewer people and resources, we all get worn down and feel as if there's not nearly enough time in the day for what we want to do.

I've not always set my priorities the best way in my life and I've lost out as a result.

I don't always take the best care of myself. I know I should have a healthier diet and get more sleep and exercise, for example.

And, I've often been so focused on work and other responsibilities that I haven't always made the time for the people I care about.

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately, spurred on by a few recent events, and I know there is a need to make some changes.

I'm taking some time for myself this week. That's my first step.

I'm not sure how things will turn out on this path, and I'll probably stumble or even fall backwards a few times.

Those are the moments I'm hoping there will be someone to give me a swift kick to the backside and help me to move forward.

We all need to decide what is truly important in our lives. What are your goals or dreams? Who do you want in your life? What really matters and what can be given up to make sure you're happy?

Reprioritize, make time for yourself and others, and occasionally be willing to simply say "no."

You can't sweat the small stuff, as they say.

Thanks for the reminder Laurie.

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the two beers.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.

When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full.

They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly.

The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.

He then asked the students again if the jar was Full.

They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.

Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

He asked once more if the jar was full.

The students responded with a unanimous "yes."

The professor then produced two beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.

The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.

The golf balls are the important things - your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions - and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.

The sand is everything else - the small stuff."

"If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.

The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Spend time with your children.

Spend time with your parents.

Visit with grandparents.

Take your spouse out to dinner.

Play another 18.

There will always be time to clean the house and mow the lawn.

Take care of the golf balls first - the things that really matter.

Set your priorities.

The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented.

The professor smiled and said, "I'm glad you asked.

The beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of beers with a friend."

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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