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Family and friends add depth and meaning to life

Life is a journey, a long and winding road filled with beautiful vistas and unforeseen twists. If you are paying attention to the big picture and are not just focusing on your own day-to-day pain and glory, many of life's lessons reveal themselves. If you have ever said, "If I knew then what I know now," you have just learned one of the lessons of life.

The Citrus Times is asking people around Citrus County what they have learned about life, and each week we will share their wisdom.

Ray F. Vick, 64 years young, has been a building contractor for 32 years. He and his wife, Edwina, have been married for 46 years, and they have four children and nine grandchildren. Ray is a native of Clearwater, but he and his family have lived in Inverness for 27 years and consider Inverness their real hometown.

Here is what life has taught Ray:

+ I learned early in life not to gamble. We played marbles for keeps, and I lost most of my marbles. I won some but lost more. I have been trying to find them ever since.

+ I found out that being a perfectionist is not easy. Winning is very important to me, but sometimes by losing, you learn more and come back stronger.

+ Love and family are great. The wonderful girl I married is now the beautiful lady that I am married to. Find the one you love and love her!

+ Children are a blessing. All four of them. Grandchildren are great, but have them when you are young. It helps as life goes on.

+ Having a temper is okay _ after you learn to control and channel it. This can be difficult at times, but it can be done. I know, I know, I know.

+ Patience: You are not born with it. You must practice, practice and practice it. It will come in time, but I'm not sure when.

+ Friends make life worth living. You must be a friend to have good friends. Keep the old ones, but make new ones often.

+ Business is fun, if you like what you are doing and feel that you are creating something. You must have that feeling, or we become very dissatisfied.

+ Money is very important but not the thing that makes us happy. It seems to be provided when we are working and happy with our own selves at what we are doing.

+ God is my judge. I feel he has been good to me, and someday I will have the opportunity to spend eternity with him and my loved ones.