By Cindy Coats, Controller

For most of my life, my father and I have traveled the world together. As a child, I was an army brat and now that my father is retired, my vacations from PRIER are spent accompanying him on his continued search for new places and new experiences. At the time, growing up the way I did seemed like a burden.  Now I realize how fortunate I was and how those experiences have opened doors for me. They taught me to relate to the new people I meet every single day. I have learned that saying “hello” and “goodbye” to the people in my life is an opportunity and that living in the moment and enjoying each day, as it presents itself, is a treasure.

As the Office Manager and Controller for PRIER, I meet each new person who joins our team. They come to us from all walks of life. Each partner brings a different talent and the combination of those talents allows PRIER to build a strong and balanced company. Our mission statement at PRIER states that we want all of our partners to be all that they can be, both inside and outside of PRIER. PRIER is a big part of a partners’ life. We spend 8 hours a day, five days a week with this extended family. If any of us are unhappy at home or at work, everyone suffers. We never know when we will have another opportunity to influence each other, so we should take full advantage of every opportunity.  

This week, as my father and I sailed from London out of the English Channel, into the North Sea, across the Kiel Canal, to the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Finland into the port of Saint Petersburg, Russia we saw the land and the outlines of the landscape begin to take shape. I’ve been watching James Bond movies for over 50 years, so all of my Russian preconceptions began to take hold of my thoughts. You can only imagine my delight when I met Natasha, our tour guide for our first day in Russia. 

Natasha was just a little girl when the Soviet Union ended. To us that sounds like a wonderful thing and now it is. At the time, Natasha’s family had a coffee can full of money that they had pinched and saved for quite some time. She did not remember if it was for a new home or a refrigerator, but she knew that money was precious. Suddenly when the Soviet Union ended, all that effort was for naught. The money was worthless. Natasha found out about the fall of communism, when her mother handed her their life savings and told her that she could play with it, because it had no value. This was so confusing for a small child. She had never been given money to play with. Natasha told us that her parents now spend every penny they get, as soon as they get it. They simply live in the moment. She told us that living in the moment and not worrying about tomorrow is such a freeing experience. 

As a US Citizen, I cannot imagine all of my savings being worth nothing tomorrow. I’m not going to go home and cash in my 401K, but I do know that I will never be the same as I was before I met Natasha. I am going to live in the moment and enjoy those around me. I will try to live as if each person I meet might be the last person I get the chance to help.

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