25/50

Time is a funny thing. Today is the 28th anniversary of my brother’s death. He died when he was 25 and next month I will turn 50. I have been alive twice as long as he was. This almost breaks me. He died and time amazingly went on, as it does. I’m looking at 50 years in the rearview, and it’s had me thinking of time, and what I’ve done with my mine. They say the good die young, and for me, this holds true. Michael is my only sibling and we are honest here, so I can say there is a thing – survivor’s guilt isn’t accurate – it’s more an understanding of the fickleness of fate, an appreciation for time, a pinky swear to maximize the time you have, to do some good, to carpe the fuck out of the diem. I’ve had 26,297,460 minutes breathing oxygen so far, some wasted, some just in for the ante, some sacred, some the worst of me, and some, some the best of me. On this day, with Michael on my mind, in these minutes I’ve had and he didn’t, I will tell you some of what I’ve learned along the way, what I aspire to, what 26 million and some change of minutes reap.

  • First, always, my children are my minutes, my joy. I’ve made many mistakes raising them, I’ve stumbled, but my three sons know they are loved unconditionally. They are better people than I am, and isn’t that the hope, the goal? Love your children, even when they don’t want it.
  • If you ever want to get out of a social obligation, say you have diarrhea, there are never any follow-up questions. It’s a free pass.
  • The cold truth is harder. It’s worth it. Trust the people you love with the truth, they will appreciate it, maybe not that day, but after. Lies multiply and they will choke you. Have the difficult conversations, own them and take your licks. It will hurt. It will be ok.
  • I learned this with my sons. You cannot make someone eat who refuses, you cannot make someone sleep who doesn’t want to and you cannot make someone poop where and when you would like them to if they are not on board. There are things out of your control and you just have to roll with it.
  • I have a friend who worries like a full time job. It hasn’t changed one thing other than her happiness. She knows this. The only control you have over anyone else is how you allow it to make you feel. In the words of George Carlin – don’t sweat the petty stuff and don’t pet the sweaty stuff.
  • Happiness is a choice. We all have sorrow. Every single one of us. Choose joy. Every day. Make with the happy. The sun is shining, put some on your face. Choose you. No one will ever be as invested in your happiness as you.
  • If someone wants to leave you, let them.
  • Comparison is the thief of joy. Folks will only let you see the very best, the exaggerated best. Don’t drink the Kool-Aid. You are perfect right where you are. We are ALL works-in-progress. Don’t compare yourself to a façade. Don’t compare yourself to anyone. Be you. Be fabulous. Feel it. Know that fairy tales aren’t real, we are all grabbing bites of bliss in a sea of ordinary. We carry on.
  • You will regret more what you don’t do, than you do. One life, babe. Jump. Do the things. All the things. You have only so many minutes, take chances with no regrets. Make your life beautiful with wondrous adventure. Fear less. Regret less. Do something that scares you a little. It will make you feel alive. Godspeed.
  • Kindness costs you nothing. Spread it like confetti. It feels good. It does good. A therapist once told me the way you heal yourself is helping another. This is true. You will think it’s a small matter offered at the altar of altruism, but small acts of kindness are kinetic, they pay forward, and they make fertile ground for kindness to prosper.
  • When you need help, ask for it. You will be amazed to find how many people are willing to lend a hand, but sometimes they just don’t know how.
  • Forgive yourself. Always. On the reverse, forgive others, too. In the words of Maya Angelou, bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. Anger burns clean.
  • If you don’t know what to say, say nothing. Take a minute. Once words are said, they can’t be unsaid.
  • Trust your gut above your heart.
  • Life isn’t fair. Don’t think otherwise. Do good anyway.

You have 1440 minutes today. Right now. The meter is running. Go forth and conquer.

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