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It's not often that my blogs deviate from my favorite hobby, but my thoughts lately have been with friends and family that have been dealing with loss of one kind or another during the holiday season. This holiday season in particular seems to have been especially laden with loss for many that I care about. A few years ago, I lost my dad close to the holidays so I feel like I can relate to my friends and loved ones that lose people close to their hearts during the time of year when pretty much everyone else is celebrating. It's hard to celebrate life and new possibilities with the coming of a new year when the life of a cherished loved one is slipping away and all you want is for every good remaining moment to last a lifetime, if only in your memory.
Some losses are part of the circle of life and while possibly expected, are still difficult to accept. Others are tragic, unexpected and possibly unfair, but all are devastating to each person left behind. The difficult part is finding your personal motivation to persevere. For me with my dad, I try to remember all the positive lessons learned and all the experiences he gave me while growing up. Experiences that are still teaching me to this day.
Mortality is a sobering subject. It makes us realize that we are merely leasing time on this Earth and how fleeting that time can be. Of course, this same swift passing of time, makes us become complacent in the thought that there will always be a tomorrow. Time is so easy to take for granted, but absolutely impossible to make up. Many people spend their lives "planning for tomorrow" but by denying themselves the experiences of today for the sake of tomorrow, they truly end up living for tomorrow instead. Nothing in life is guaranteed, least of all the possibility of tomorrow and that's why I think it's so important to plan for tomorrow but always live for today.
When was the last time you told someone how you felt about them the moment you thought of it, whether it was love or pride or even gratitude? We put off so many things thinking there will always be time for them tomorrow because let's face it, today is yesterday's tomorrow. Call someone you miss and tell them. Call someone who's hurt and let them know you're thinking of them. Make any excuse to remind those you would miss, and those who might miss you how you feel about them. Take that trip you've been talking about forever. Take that day off just when you think you really can't if only to prove to yourself that you can. I promise you, the world will keep on spinning. Take time, hell, make time to do things today. It's the experiences we share that will leave those lasting impressions when we're gone.
It's often the little things that we always think there are time for tomorrow. The hugs, the talks, the quiet moments together doing nothing, the "I love you's"... are typically the casualties of tomorrow most often. So as we look back on that last year and start yet another, my wish for myself and all my friends and loved ones is that we make time for all the things we constantly tell ourselves we don't have time for. Simply put, that we all may live for today.
Tell your kids you love them every time you feel like it, even though they think it's corny. Tell your family you love them even though you know they already know. Go for ice cream or a sunset cruise. If you don't, the vaccum left behind by the things you didn't do or say could consume the memories that should have been there. Believe me, regret is the one legacy we don't want to leave for anyone or be left with ourselves.
There's a reason that living and surviving have different definitions. To live to survive is not living. I hope to make 2017 (and hopefully every year after) a year of living. To those we have lost, may we continue to live life to the fullest in their honor and memory. I know it's what my dad would want for me.
Here's to a happy, healthy and safe new year in 2017!