Bill Sniffin: If I Had My Life To Live Over . . .

in Column/Bill Sniffin

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By Bill Sniffin, publisher

If you had your life to live over, how would you live it?

It seemed appropriate that I started to write this column during the weeks of the year’s shortest days.

This is my attempt to define a perfect life and how important it is to aspire to live that perfect life.

I write this as a two-time great-grandfather, a grandfather to 13 and an ancestor to all those other descendants who are not here yet.

My most important conclusion is that the greatest wealth a man can acquire in his lifetime is a healthy and loving family. Nothing else comes close.

So just how “deep” should I make this essay? Well, here goes:

In recent years I have been hanging out with some folks who contend your most important goals in life should be finding truth, goodness, and beauty.

Looking back on a career in journalism, it is easy to agree about the importance of truth. Rarely is truth relative.  When all the facts are in, truth will usually rise to the top.

When I was younger, I loved the concept that all things were relative, which means just about everything was determined by the situation. After years of dealing with life, you realize that relativism is overrated. 

There are absolute truths in this world. You need to find them out and then live your life accordingly. There is right vs. wrong. There is good vs. evil. Character and ethics are real and both will help you find the truth.

In my life, I did not have to look too far to find real goodness. My wife of 55 years, Nancy, is the best person I have ever known. How on earth I ever found her is a big mystery to me. She is the best thing that ever happened to me. Let’s hope all you folks out there reading this will be as fortunate when it comes to your most important relationships.

Nancy was a Jefferson Award recipient in 2011 for all the good she did in raising money to fight cancer and helping the needy with the Christmas food basket program.

When it comes to beauty, I say just open your eyes. In Wyoming, we live in a beautiful place populated by beautiful people.

In recent years, I have worked with 54 Wyoming-based photographers. I love their outlook when it comes to Wyoming. A great many of them love a foggy day or a hard rain or a heavy snow because of the opportunities it gives them to photograph our beautiful landscape in a new way. Now, after listening to them, I try very hard to not complain so much about the weather. 

This is difficult as I get older.

If I had my life to live over, I would not have squandered so much money and time on toys. A big boat comes to mind. Sure, we had a lot of fun with it, but what an expense and what a time suck!

For a long time, I believed that whoever died with the most toys wins.  What a joke! And it really is a myth. I think a better saying would be “he who dies with the most friends wins.”

If I had my life to live over, I would have gotten in better physical shape.  This would have allowed me to better explore this wonderful country we live in.

Sure, I have been all over Wyoming, from the Medicine Wheel to Medicine Bow and from Pinedale to Pine Bluffs and from Evanston to Evansville, but there are places that are unreachable to me because my physical condition is not good enough.

One old-timer once wrote that if she could live her life over, she would have eaten more ice cream and fewer beans. I think I did eat my quota of ice cream and probably should have been eating more beans.

If I could live my life over, I would not have been so competitive in business. I was a holy terror to my competitors and, as a result, they were hard on me, too.  I was even way too competitive with family and friends. 

Bless your business competitors because they make you better. But it took me way too long to learn that I could get much more done through cooperation than through intense competition.

Faith in God should have played a bigger role in my life. I sort of found that out later in life, but thankfully, I did find it out.

I liken my life to a baseball game where we get to play nine innings. If so, I am hoping this is the middle of the seventh and it is time for a stretch. Maybe time to sing the song Sweet Caroline. I sure hope it is not the bottom of the ninth.

If I had my life to live over, I would find more joy in everything that I did. And I would strive to provide joy to others as a main goal of my life.

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