Wherever I go, I hear people saying they can't believe how fast 2012 flew by.

So true.

It seems as if I just got use to writing 2012 on my checks. Now, it's time to change the date again.

I wish I could slow the march of time.

I wish I could make days last longer.

I wish that a year felt like a long time instead of a brief interlude.

While we can't slow the sands of time, we can make the best use of the time we have. The older I get, the more I resolve to do exactly that.

From the conversations I've had with others, I get the impression many share that goal.

But countering that effort is the fact that cunning thieves have slipped into our homes and into our very consciousness. Worse yet, these thieves can spend all day in our home and we won't even realize they are there.

One thief is so old one would think it would lose its power over us. Not so. The thief we call television is still with us, stealing away precious hours, wasting time we can't get back.

My husband is a great sports fan. He never heard of a football game he didn't want to watch. The same is true of basketball, baseball and hockey games. He also gets enthralled with tennis matches, golf and even televised poker tournaments.

Every now and then David laments that he doesn't get as much done as he once did. He tries to rectify that by not turning on the television set.

But television is like a narcotic drug that gets into one's body. We turn on the TV "for a little while," just to relax a bit. The next thing we know, it steals chunks of time away from us. If we don't stay vigilant, that thief will steal away our life, one hour at a time.

For the younger generation, TV isn't a time stealer. Video games, the Internet, and compulsive text messaging are the thieves that steal away their time.

My grandson, Cameron, is a smart teenager, wise beyond his years. Every now and then he realizes he is spending more time with gadgets than he is with people. When that reality dawns, he turns off all electrical devises, stashes away his cell phone and goes outside to experience real life with his friends.

But New Jersey's cold and snow has him back in the house, connecting with people only through electronic games.

Over Christmas, I started calling him Ghost because he can be in the house all day without uttering a peep as he sits with his electronic "friends."

Cam is acutely aware of time thieves and I'm sure better weather will find him leaving the electronic traps behind for better pursuits.

It isn't only the young who are caught by electronic time thieves. I have one sixty-something friend who spends every day and night playing computer games with distant strangers.

I find it hard to believe she can spend that much time sitting at a computer, ignoring the balmy days that lure others to Florida.

"It's addictive," she says, explaining why she spends more time playing games than most people spend at a job. She says it's fun way to fill her days and nights.

I'm a "people person" who thrives on being with others. When I walk away from any social gathering, big or small, I feel energized because I truly delight in being with others.

But I also recognize there are some people I need to avoid.

My son-in-law says there are two kinds of people those whose upbeat nature give us energy and those who sap away our energy. He calls constant complainers perpetual downer "energy thieves." Some call them Energy Vampires.

My theory is there are so many wonderful people with whom we can spend our time. We don't have time to spend with all of them. So naturally, we seek out those who are most rewarding to be around.

The older I get the more I realize the number of friends we have is not as important as the quality of our friendships.

I know some people for ten years, spending countless hours of activity with them. But they couldn't tell one substantial thing about me and I couldn't tell you anything substantial about them. That's because all our conversations are deliberately superficial. That's the way it is with activity friends.

There are other people I may know only for a short period of time. But I feel like I know them forever because we can safely share our souls. My new friends Carol, Arne, Bill and Roseanne are such quality friends.

We go out for dinner and talk for hours about meaningful things. During our last time together, we explored our thoughts on hell. Because we are all from different religious beliefs, there was plenty of food for thought tossed around the table. It made us all think and examine our own beliefs more closely.

As we proceed into 2013, some of my many resolutions are to avoid time thieves, to surround myself with positive people and to live a life of meaning rather than simply existing.

I can't control how quickly time passes. But I can control how I spend my time.