Let us be clear right from the start, I am not advocating using people in any negative form whatsoever. Quite the opposite. When we are finished with our brief time here together, I think you will have a new appreciation for what ‘using people’ can mean. To illustrate, I would love to share two personal stories of mine with you. The first involves a very early childhood friend. Let us call him Andy because, well, that is what his name was. He was one of my very first good friends. I am thinking somewhere near the age of 3 or 4. I remember he had bright red hair and that we pretty much did everything together. Then, in second grade, he moved away. We never exchanged addresses or phone numbers. To this day, I do not even know what happened to my early childhood friend.
I could blame my lack of thought regarding Andy on the fact that I was only 7 years old. You don’t really think too much about the future when you are that age. That would be fine, except one little problem. Take a look at the picture above. That is a picture of mine and Margie’s friends Curtis and Danie, with their son. They used to run a coffee shop/cafe in town. Both very nice people and I am sure their son will be an outstanding gentleman as he grows up. This wonderful family moved out west to pursue their dreams for their future. Here is the ironic thing. Before they left, Margie and I were saying how much fun it would be to spend some time with them just relaxing and doing fun things. Every time we saw each other, we would say something like, “Yes! Let us set something up!” All of our lives were busy, and sadly, that moment never happened.
Unlike my story with Andy, we at least are able to keep track via social media. In fact, as I wrote this, I messaged Curtis to let him know I was writing something about him. It would seem that I have learned little or nothing in the 40 years since my friend Andy moved away. Before you judge me, ask yourself one question. How many times have you said to yourself, “Man I wish I would have _____ with that person. Now it is too late.” This can hold true of people who moved away or even people who have passed on. We look back and think of how foolish we spent the time that we had with them. That is not to say every second has to be be planned and accounted for. Sometimes, the goal might just to be fully present and focused on enjoying time with someone. Taking time to enjoy their jokes, their voice or the way they look at a certain situation.
I encourage you to think of someone who is important in your life. How can you better use the time with them? Is there a certain activity you wish to do with them? Maybe it is as simple as spending a quiet dinner just slowing down and enjoying each others company? It may seem like work to rearrange a schedule and make things happen. Do you know what is even more work? Living with the weight of regret that you did not make the most of people and moments when you had the chance. I advocate using people. Use them to show love. Use them to show how much you care. Use them to create wonderful memories with. Use them to show your appreciation for the wonderful humans they are. Use people…before it is too late.