It always interests me to see people work through the various stages of life, for instance those finishing school, college or university and setting out into the world of work for the first time. It's nice to watch the satisfaction of that first pay packet and the promise of so much more.
Then fast forward a few years and for many the spouse appears, the house is found and either a rent or a mortgage comes next, closely followed by the patter of tiny feet. By now, the novelty of the first pay packet has well and truly worn off.
This coincides with promotion and added responsibility at work, or perhaps it's the new business venture. Either way it brings stress and longer hours; it promises the dream and the idea of greater reward in the future. Meanwhile, the family is growing and the demands are also increasing at home, yet the challenge of being present in body and spirit is a real one.
It's not long before relationships strain and communication at home is limited to a few minutes about the children, bills or the house. Tiredness sets in and before long it's time for a good dose of reality.
The reason why I'm drawn to this is that I'm now at an age where I've went through many of these seasons myself. I'm obviously writing from the perspective of a husband and a father, and at a time a selfish one too I must confess. I worked hard yes, but when I came home I wanted my share of down time too.
If I learned anything from going through these stages of life, it's this, 'Take time to appreciate the here and now. Value what you have now, not in the future. Appreciate your spouse and spend time with your children, that's what they really want more than anything else.'
I thank God that I came to understand this early enough to do something about it.
Let's not live life with regrets, wishing we could wind the clock back if it were possible.