A man with binoculars looks to the distant mountains.
Responders reflect on ways they have let go in the past & current possibilities they still hope to pursue in the future

This question begs an answer or even a solution that ensures delight, sheer joy and possibility! However, these are real people answering an honest question, and their emotions and dreams come to light in their responses. 

In this column, adopted from the familiar “Heard on the Street” format, we offer our responders a chance to answer the question posed in the title. These are their replies reported verbatim. 

Time Is on My Side? 

What’s really missing from my life right now is my Australian Cattle Dog-mix, Jimmy. He died in February. He was the first dog in my life I chose on my own. My wife and I had Jimmy when our son was born. It’s as if Jimmy found his sense of purpose once we brought our son home from the hospital. Jimmy’s main focus became to protect him, which warmed my heart like nothing else. Is Jimmy’s passing as devastating as losing a person? No, of course not. But as anyone that’s owned a dog can tell you, they’re a large part of any family. I’m extremely grateful we had Jimmy for 15 years. 


Don Montroy 
Bergquist Inc. 
Rockford, Michigan 

The ability to once again be able to just do things on a spur of the moment. That would include a small vacation, or any other things that when I was younger was able to do at a moment’s notice. However, it still can be accomplished with planning, but without that “let’s go now” way of doing it. That is what is missing.   

Richard Strycharz Jr. 
Walter’s Propane 
Sunderland, Massachusetts 

What is missing from my life? Concerning the most important things in life, I’d say nothing. But on a less philosophical, more practical level, I think “time” would be my answer. Time to do more “me” things versus “to-do list” things. I realize that when I stop working, I will have more than enough time on my hands, so I see this as a temporary issue. And of course, once I retire, I’m sure I will be convinced I have too much free time. LOL. 

Leslie Woodward 
Fairview Fittings 
Oakville, Ontario, Canada 

My life is pretty full. I don’t believe there is anything missing. However, it would be nice to have more time to help people who need it. There are people in my community and network dealing with adversity or personal struggles. If I could find a way to provide assistance and comfort to those people, I would do it. I am truly blessed with great friends and family. I feel I have a purpose and make an impact to those around me. Life is a journey, and I do my best to live right and enjoy the ride. 

Ed Varney 
Topline Management 
McKinney, Texas 

YOUTH! That’s what’s missing from my life! This month’s question could definitely be a one-word answer, but I will elaborate. The vitality and energy of the young is a wonderful and sometimes unappreciated blessing.  Really, I jest. There’s not anything missing in my life. I have a wonderful family, a blessed business and blessings too many to list. Now as I think more, a private jet and a couple of vacation homes would be nice! 

Paula Moore 
Blackburn Propane Service Inc. 
Durant, Oklahoma 

Pets. Cats, dogs and horses fill me with joy because of their unconditional love, companionship and daily excuse to exercise. All my life I have had pets, until now. We made the decision to wait to get another dog “until after we are done traveling.” Everywhere I go there is a gravitational pull toward anyone’s pet. If it has fur, I am there! Most people are gracious enough to let me pet their pet — unless they are not, in which case I am able to have a nice contactless conversation with them about their fur baby. 

Julie Johnson 
Ted Johnson Propane 
Baldwin Park, California 

Enough time. “Missing” is enough time to do all the things I need to do and all the things I want to do! I’m hoping retirement helps that, but I do have a concern that I have so many things I want to do, since I spent many years doing the things I needed to do. We shall see. 

Susan Peterson 
Rural Computer Consultants 
Bird Island, Minnesota 

I’ve been blessed beyond all expectations in my life with many strong friendships, work experiences, life experiences and in about every other measure anyone could dream of or hope for. The only thing missing from my life is, without question, my greatest blessing: my daughter Amber. I lost Amber 20 years ago, and I carry that loss with me in my head and heart every single day. While there is no possible way to ever change this, I am grateful for every minute I was able to share with her. 

Boyd H. McGathey 
Energy Distribution Partners 
Parkville, Missouri 

I think when you have had some tough blows and big losses in life, you center yourself and become much more grateful for the day-to-day small things, and I am every day. But if I’m honest — and putting my heart on my sleeve — I guess I miss having that friend to share after-work life with. Go to dinner, a movie, a Sunday drive and yes, even watch a Hallmark movie. LOL. It’s probably one of the biggest voids since Jimmy’s passing that doesn’t seem to go away. With that said, I’m grateful for all my friends in the industry that allow me to tag along and be the fifth wheel. 

Judy Taranovich 
Proctor Gas Inc. 
Proctor, Vermont 

While I have had many blessings and opportunities in my life, probably the one thing missing is having more time to travel. We have taken some amazing trips, but there are still so many places here in the United States that we have not visited. We have often talked about taking the time to just get in the car and drive around to visit all of our propane friends in various states! We would also like to take an extended road trip out West, as well as the Northeast. It would be nice to have the time to do any of these trips with minimal planning. With retirement on the horizon, hopefully we will have the time to make it all happen! 

Rosie Buschar 
McMahan’s Bottle Gas 
Dayton, Ohio 

I think the one thing that is missing from my life is meaningful personal connections. I mean the good, old-fashioned kind. The kind where you call up some friends to just sit around a fire and shoot the breeze. (I’m from the country; that is our kind of Friday night, haha.) I think this is because of a couple things. First off, in my opinion, the world has gotten too fast-paced. We are all running around at full speed just trying to “do life.” I know I’m guilty of that at times. The other thing is that technology has robbed us all of face-to-face contact. It is so easy to send a text or an email these days. Most of the time texting can take the place of a phone call, not to mention taking the place of an in-person meeting. Just my two cents.  

Jon Shepard 
VK Inspections LLC 
Mercer, Pennsylvania 

GOLF! I desperately want to play more, and I even bought new clubs, but they’re still in the box. What’s the old saying? If it’s important enough, you’ll make the time. If not, you’ll make an excuse. I’m out of excuses, so I guess I need to get those clubs out of the box TODAY! 

Tonya Crow 
Bloomington, Illinois 

Our family lost a very special member last year … our dog Oscar. He was the most beautiful brindle boxer you’ve ever seen and was the BEST boy. We miss him every day, and although it is hard to think of loving another doggie as much as we loved him, I know our lives are missing the love only a dog can give. Maybe it’s time to meet another. Every household needs a guard and a few muddy pawprints over the threshold. 

Jessica Johnson 
National Propane Gas Association 
Asheville, North Carolina 

Personal free time. Busy schedules with work, projects and family commitments limit the amount of personal free time. I’m sure I contribute to my own hectic schedule but would certainly enjoy some downtime to recharge on a regular basis. More personal time to spend traveling or going on vacation with my wife is a goal for me to work toward. I’m thinking retirement might be the answer down the road, but I really enjoy what I’m doing! 

Jerry Schimmel 
P3 Propane Safety 
Cumberland, Rhode Island 

The Missing Feeling 

When I think of what’s missing in my life, I’m prone to think of things like dancing (no excuse, I just don’t prioritize it), tennis (knees won’t let me) and golf (I’m not good at it, but I enjoy it all the same). If I wait until retirement, I may have developed legitimate excuses, so I’m going to get some dancing and golf back in my life starting this summer. As others have pointed out, life itself is a blessing. Beyond gratitude for the blessings we have, we may find a way to add more joy to our daily lives in the present.

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