Looking ahead to the new year, stop and consider life balance to minimize regrets later.
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 seventhdecade. Seventy does not seemto be as old as I once thoughtit did. Maturity in life brings a freshperspective, new appreciations, andmore interests in the things that makea real difference. Age helps sharpenthe insight on what is important.Robert Fulghum's All I Really Needto Know?I Learned in Kindergartensometimes takes a lifetime of living toreally be understood.
Maturity makes the New Year a time,not so much to make new resolutions,but to "count your blessings." It is ablessing to have had an opportunity tobe a pharmacist for almost 50 years—still in love with the profession andexcited about our new professionalopportunities. It has been extremelyfulfilling to share my opinion withPharmacy Times' readers for over 20years. It has been so rewarding to serveas a mentor and teacher to studentpharmacists and residents. At my age,getting up each day is another blessingthat I hope to use to the fullest.
My last class session in the course Iteach challenges students to discoverfor themselves at the beginning of theircareer what will make life meaningful.It is what Steven Covey calls "beginwith the end in mind." I tell them thatlife should be lived like we are in apentathlon, where success is measuredby being good in all 5 events, not justexceptional in one. Successful life balancemust be achieved in these 5 areas:(1) taking care of yourself; (2) takingcare of your family; (3) putting in theeffort to create career opportunities;(4) giving something back to your community;and finally (5) refreshing one'sspirit, which is often done throughreligious commitment. My message isthat being outstanding in only one ofthese areas and poor in most of the othersmay cause regrets when you get tomy age. Yes, you always have to workat balance in your life, but focusing onits pursuit early can help to minimizeregrets later.
In 2009, our editorial staff is committedto making Pharmacy Times yourmost informative, helpful resourceso you can take better care of yourpatients. May your pharmacy career beas fulfilling to you as mine has been,and may you live your life as if you arerunning a pentathlon in 2009.