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Thoughts for Thursday (03/25/2021)- Have To Do VS Want To Do

Welcome to my first “Thoughts for Thursday” of the Spring and thanks for everyone’s patience as I try to get this out as often as I can find the time. Which is actually the focus of my thoughts today.

“Find the Time”. What exactly does that mean. I’ve joked about needing an 8th day in the week, but with the exception of the Beatles song, I don’t think anyone has discovered that just yet. In fact, it was just a little more than a week ago that the government stole an entire hour from our lives with Daylight Savings Time. People still out here complaining about having to wear a mask, but how come there were no protests over that stolen hour? Do you know how much I could have gotten done in that hour? Ok, not much to be honest, but still…

When you try to “Find the Time” it usually implies something you would like to do or that unexpectedly came up. Play a game with the family, watch a movie, eat a second dinner, take your computer in to be looked at to Computer Greeks, (located at 12222 S Harlem Ave in Palos Heights open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 6pm), or start an exercise program (ok, that one has been on my list for near 30 years- amazing, I still haven’t “Found the Time” for that one).

Mentally, when trying to fit in something that wasn’t on the schedule, you wonder where you can “Steal” some time from. You begin to prioritize the “Have” to dos, from the “Want” to dos, from the “I know I was never going to get to these anyways” to dos.

Usually, it is the Work Stuff that always demands our attention and seems to have the most consequences if we don’t take care of them. We don’t want to be a failure! So typically, we steal time from the “Want” to dos which can often be our relaxation, hobbies, families and general Me-Time. More and more I find myself simply giving up the “Want” to dos because I have more and more of the “Have” to dos that show up every day and I consider myself a responsible adult so that’s what you're “Supposed” to do, right? Wrong.

Now, I’m not advocating ignoring responsibilities, I’m saying if you’re like me (I know, God Forbid!), you can’t always tell a “Have” to do from a “Want” to do.

Need to go to the hospital? “Have” to do. Mortgage needs to be paid? “Have” to do. McDonalds has a buy one get one free Egg McMuffin? “Want” to do. (I know- that was almost a “Have”). Customer’s computer doesn’t turn on and they “Have” to get it repaired instantly? “Want” to do. Ok, let me clarify that last one if I can.

My business and my work are very important to me. At times, too important. Our customers and their problems are priorities, but let’s be clear- “Their Problems” are not “My Problems”! See- that was important, so I used capital letters and “”s and and ! at the same time.

It may be our job to solve those problems and we do it better than anyone, but that still doesn’t make them our problems.

We can be completely sympathetic and do everything possible to take care of our customer’s issues, but when you haven’t backed up your computer ever despite having 10 years of tax returns and all of your precious family pictures on it and this morning, it not only didn’t turn on but strange smoke starting billowing out of it- this “emergency” is yours, not mine.

I cannot tell you the number of times over the last 25 years I’ve worked until after midnight or come in at 5am to try to get someone’s problems resolved because I felt I “Have” to. I “Want” to when I’m able, but I most certainly don’t “Have” to.

You know how I know these things at my age that I most certainly didn’t understand 10 or 20 years ago? Because I’ve seen what happens when the people with all of the “Have” to dos, suddenly “Can’t” to dos.

My dad was a doctor. Without a doubt, the man with the greatest number or “Have” to dos I’ve ever known. Phone rings at 2am, you “Have” to go to work. Pager goes off (Ok, kids- a "pager" or “beeper” was this little box that doctors (and drug dealers) clipped to their belts in the days before cell phones so that during their son’s high school play, it would go “beep beep beep” in the middle of a performance to let them know what they “Have” to do while everyone in the place looked at me because they all knew exactly who that was), to tell you that what you “Want” to do isn’t going to work out this time.

And yet, when that person gets sick and dies- the world somehow goes on just the same.

When your brother and co-worker (another one of those with a huge number of “Have” to dos) decides that 49 is the perfect age to have not one, but two heart attacks in the span of a month, all of the “Have” to dos for the next 4 months will somehow be ok without him.

These are just a few of the reasons I now know the difference between the “Have” to dos and the “Want” to dos, although I still need a reminder every now an then.

If I drop tomorrow (I’m not planning on it, I’m just saying)- the world will continue. Yes, there will be tremendous wailing and mourning, but in the grand scheme, I’m not that important.

All of my “Have” to dos will somehow get done or they won’t. At the end of the day, I’m going to be way more upset if I didn’t accomplish more of my “Want” to dos that are still on my list.

To that end, I will now knock out a few of my “Have” to dos so that I can take time later today for the really important “Want” to dos, my wife, my kids, and myself. If I don’t get to those things, that will be the real failure.

Stay Safe, Stay Well, and get to a couple of those “Want” to dos, ok?

Uncle Steve

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