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How are you living your dash?

Maj. Dorinda Mazza, outgoing 15th Comptroller Squadron commander, renders one final salute before handing over command of the squadron to Maj. Andrew Gmytrasiewicz in a change-of-command ceremony at the Missing Man Formation June 10, 2016, on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Terri Paden/Released)

Maj. Dorinda Mazza, outgoing 15th Comptroller Squadron commander, renders one final salute before handing over command of the squadron to Maj. Andrew Gmytrasiewicz in a change-of-command ceremony at the Missing Man Formation June 10, 2016, on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Terri Paden/Released)

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM --

Have you ever given thought to what a dash can represent? It meant little to me until Dec. 26, 2010, when my Dad lost his battle with cancer.

 

As the oldest child, I was charged with coordinating funeral arrangements, to include writing his obituary. Summarizing my Dad's short, but rewarding life, from beginning to end was tough. He'd done so much, touched so many lives, meant so much to so many - yet on his headstone, it's all represented by one little dash.

 

In the midst of grieving, I came across a poem by Linda Ellis, entitled The Dash, which encouraged me stop and reflect -- how am I living my dash?

 

It's amazing that our lives, years in the Air Force and even time spent at our duty assignments are all summed up with one little symbol, a dash. This little dash represents all we've accomplished on this earth, in the Air Force or at a duty assignment.

 

Yet, who really cherishes the worth of that dash?

 

Maybe it will be family and friends after we've departed. Maybe it will be co-workers and wingmen after we've separated, retired or PCS'd.

 

If you are reading this, you are still living your dash. So, I contend that we should also cherish this little dash. Pause, be mindful in this present moment, and take a look at how we are living our dash before our end date arrives.

 

If you are like me, living a busy life, in my case as an Airman, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister and a friend, simply finding time to reflect on life can be challenging. The hustle and bustle of days seems to turn days into weeks, weeks into months and months into years. And before you know it, years have passed.

 

So I challenge you right now. Take some time to reflect. Are you pursuing your dreams? Are you on a path to achieve your goals? Are you living as the person you want to be remembered for?

 

To honestly answer those questions, survey your life's priorities. Define your values, passions and purpose in life.

 

Values define the foundation of who you are, what you stand for, and what's important in your life.

 

Passion is that desire to participate in activities that you love to do. It could be your occupation, your hobby or both.

 

Purpose is what you were meant to do, whether that takes on spiritual or philosophical meaning.

 

Once defined, figure out if you are truly living in union with your values, passions and purpose. If you are not, what changes can you make? What steps can you take today to help you reach your dreams, achieve your goals, and live as the person you want to be remembered for?

 

And so, it all goes back to that little dash. Such a small symbol represents our life, years in the Air Force and time spent at our duty assignments.

 

How are you living your dash?

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