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We often talk about the importance of family and maintaining a balanced life. But, perhaps it’s time to check—do we really do it?

When was the last time we visited family or relatives living in a different or faraway place?

It’s too far… I don’t have the time… I have so much work to finish… The trip might be too expensive… We have all these reasons that eventually lead us to, I’ll just visit next time… We justify that there will always be a “next time.”

What if there’s no next time?

I have a brother who lives in the US. He is ten years older than me. He is not in the best state health-wise. The last time we saw each other face to face was more than four years ago.

Before the pandemic, I was in the US almost every year assisting in Jack Canfield’s programs. During those times, I didn’t take advantage of the opportunity to visit my brother because I kept thinking about the cost. Even though I was already there, traveling to another state still had been expensive. I always thought, maybe next time.

Then, the pandemic hit. We couldn’t travel. He got sicker and his mind started to weaken.

I finally got to visit him recently. Even that trip had been postponed and rescheduled so many times. A part of me even tried to reason myself out of it beforehand. Maybe this isn’t the best time to go. The plane tickets will be too expensive because of the oil price hike. The whole trip will be too costly because of the economic crisis brought about by the Ukraine war. Then there’s still the pandemic…

But, don’t we earn money for this purpose? To spend it on family, friends, and the things that truly matter?

Sometimes, we need reminding that family doesn’t just mean immediate family. Yes, being married and having children means priorities. We might not often see or spend time with siblings, parents, or grandparents. But, they are family, especially if we are lucky enough to still have them in our lives.

My Kuya

When I was a teenager, whenever I asked my father for permission to go out, he often deferred to my brother. “Ask your kuya,” he would say. My brother had always been the responsible one in the family. He permitted me, but always with a curfew. “Be home before 10.” Of course, I always tried to negotiate. “How can I party if I need to go home that early?” But, it was no use, as he was firm.

Growing up and growing older, we became closer, even though we lived far apart.

During my trip, my brother told me stories from my childhood, things I’ve forgotten or didn’t know. It’s surprising to know that there are still things to discover about myself even at this age.

The more we bond with family, the more we discover surprising things about ourselves.

Make the most of family time

Last November, I enrolled in an advanced professional coaching program. There was a session scheduled within the dates of my US trip. I also had to attend to work, even though I was on vacation. The plane tickets were booked in a rush, so some work schedules overlapped with my trip.

Then, I received news that a friend, who was in his 50’s suddenly passed away. Another friend collapsed at work because of an aneurysm and has been in the ICU for weeks. She’s just in her 40’s.

That’s when I decided, enough work for me! When the coaching program session finished, I closed everything work-related. I didn’t want to waste my vacation and time with my brother. It was time to enjoy.

We don’t know what life would bring. Make the most of it!


I vow to build stronger family bonds, in spite of distance. Communication is key. My brother and I promised to chat and call regularly. I’ll visit him more often.

Time, energy, and money spent on family are resources well-spent.

You go through life wondering what it is all about but at the end of the day it’s all about family. —Rod Stewart

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