Directly Speaking - Did You Get Lost in December?

by Scott A. Meyers, Executive Vice President
February 3, 2014

While this article appears in the February KeePosted, I’m writing it less than 10 days after December 2013! So hopefully you won’t think to yourself “It’s February, why’s he talking about December?” when you read this. But I know I got lost in December this year and after just signing a large stack of member non-renewals, I’m hoping many more of our members did the same.

Let me tell you how I got lost. It wasn’t really lost in the conventional “I don’t know where I am” sense, and it wasn’t even lost in space. It was lost in time. I spent the first 5 days of December in Florida on vacation with my lovely wife and two good friends, Mike and Jackie Novario. We hit Universal Studios, Disney World and Epcot, and the west coast – specifically Anna Maria Island and Sarasota. It was fun, it was warm, and it was action packed! Then I followed that up with 5 more days in Orlando for the ASHP Midyear Meeting. Always a great opportunity to see old friends, make new ones and learn a lot.

By the time I got home, winter had more than taken over with -8° temps, a solid blanket of white and plenty of traffic accidents and road salt for everyone. The holidays were immediately upon me and because of the late date of Midyear, it seemed like the gift shopping pressures were magnified. Can I get an Amen?!

To compound issues, I had not managed my annual allotment of vacation well and had 10 days left to use or lose in the already shortened month. I know, my fault, quit whining. But when you’ve been out of the office for a week already and then try to take another two work weeks off in the last three, something had to give. I didn’t get all ten burned, but that’s ok because come January 1st, the bank gets refilled, and who wants to take time off in the first 2-3 months of the calendar year unless a trip to the tropics is on the table?

Christmas got here so quickly, I missed a lot of the build-up of anticipation and didn’t even feel the December 26th “It’s over already” let down. I spent a significant amount of time during my days off monitoring and responding to work emails and visited the office to sign papers or checks. But most of you pharmacy directors and clinical specialists deal with this too when you don’t leave town for vacation, so I really don’t expect or want sympathy.

By New Year’s Eve, December was a blur. There were lots of great memories but also a lot more distractions this past year than I think I’ve ever noticed. Again, the weather didn’t help! New Year’s Eve for Lana and I was dinner at Steak and Shake and an early showing of “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”. We were safely in the house in spite of the 8 inches of snow long before the ball dropped in Times Square!

So now into the first full week of January, I’m starting to catch up! I’m dealing with issues that I could have taken care of in December if there weren’t so much of everything else to do. I’m guessing many of you are in the same boat. It does help that a new module for APPEs for most of Illinois’ Colleges of Pharmacy started this week because it helped me get back in my groove a little quicker than I might usually do. ICHP has a student on rotation during the first module of 2014, Amanda Peerboom from Chicago State University. I’m sure most of your sites have new students too which hopefully helps you get back into full swing more quickly after the holidays. Although I’ve heard from a few friends and members that it doesn’t seem to slow down anymore during the holidays or ever!

So I’m asking you, did you get lost in December this year? Did time sneak past you more rapidly than usual? Was it the Midyear or the Holidays or merely family that caused it for you? Next year the Midyear is late again, as is Thanksgiving. I think Thanksgiving was another big contributor for me! So while I’m sure we’ll all forget this article fairly quickly, maybe it would be valuable to go to your Outlook, or whatever day planner/calendar you regularly use, and put some reminders in October and early November this year to remember that December is going to zoom by just like this last year’s did. Add a note to hang your outdoor Christmas decorations a week or two before Thanksgiving but promise not to turn them on until Black Friday. October 1st is my birthday, so when you’re all out shopping for my gift in late September, add to that reminder to start looking for specials on potential Christmas and Hanukkah gifts for your loved ones! And most importantly, if you’re like me, make sure you take more days off this spring, summer and fall when the weather is beautiful, rather than realizing when it’s almost too late that you’ve got too many days left in the bank.

I hope your New Year has started out well and is rapidly rolling along toward a beautiful spring! And plan ahead as I hope to, so that you don’t get lost in December this year!

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