Editor's Note: Another Year to Serve Others

JANUARY 01, 2009
Fred M. Eckel, RPh, MS

Mr. Eckel is professor and director of the Office of Practice Development and Education at the School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

In 2009, I will complete my seventh decade. Seventy does not seem to be as old as I once thought it did. Maturity in life brings a fresh perspective, new appreciations, and more interests in the things that make a real difference. Age helps sharpen the insight on what is important. Robert Fulghum's All I Really Need to Know?I Learned in Kindergarten sometimes takes a lifetime of living to really be understood.

Maturity makes the New Year a time, not so much to make new resolutions, but to "count your blessings." It is a blessing to have had an opportunity to be a pharmacist for almost 50 years—still in love with the profession and excited about our new professional opportunities. It has been extremely fulfilling to share my opinion with Pharmacy Times' readers for over 20 years. It has been so rewarding to serve as a mentor and teacher to student pharmacists and residents. At my age, getting up each day is another blessing that I hope to use to the fullest.

My last class session in the course I teach challenges students to discover for themselves at the beginning of their career what will make life meaningful. It is what Steven Covey calls "begin with the end in mind." I tell them that life should be lived like we are in a pentathlon, where success is measured by being good in all 5 events, not just exceptional in one. Successful life balance must be achieved in these 5 areas: (1) taking care of yourself; (2) taking care of your family; (3) putting in the effort to create career opportunities; (4) giving something back to your community; and finally (5) refreshing one's spirit, which is often done through religious commitment. My message is that being outstanding in only one of these areas and poor in most of the others may cause regrets when you get to my age. Yes, you always have to work at balance in your life, but focusing on its pursuit early can help to minimize regrets later.

In 2009, our editorial staff is committed to making Pharmacy Times your most informative, helpful resource so you can take better care of your patients. May your pharmacy career be as fulfilling to you as mine has been, and may you live your life as if you are running a pentathlon in 2009.