It always takes a tragedy or an early end to life to start to truly appreciate the joy that comes with living. How often during these situations do we hear people say, "live every day", "don't miss a moment", "stop and smell the roses", "live life to the fullest",(?) and the list could go on and on.
However, how many of us actually heed that advice? I know in the past I rarely have. However, I've decided to start living life better and fuller. In my case, that means making some changes to my lifestyle. I've basically cut out the fast food, started working out at the gym, and more importantly-- letting those I care about, know it.
Amazingly, giving up fast food and soda was the easiest part. Since I had a six pack a day soda habit, I thought that would be difficult. Even my once (at least!)a day habit of hitting Wendy's, McDonald's, or Taco Bell wasn't that difficult to stop. I simply made up my mind and stopped them. I quickly started eating more fruits and vegetables just like they recommend. Add in some fish oil pills and vitamins and I was on my way. I then started working out (close to daily) and consider that a good habit I have developed. I have been rewarded by losing over 30 pounds since February 9, 2010 (although I will probably gain a couple of pounds while I am here at Wilcoxson's in Arkansas).
The hardest part for me is letting people know how much I care about them. As a guy, I've traditionally lived by the "don't wear your emotions on your sleeve" credo. Even with my wife and son I've often said (and probably show) that I believe showing love is by waking up every day, going to work, and paying bills. My wife knows how romantic that is! But because of recent events in our lives I've started to realize that isn't enough. Assuming that people know you love and care about them isn't enough.
Tim McGraw sings a song called Live Live You Were Dying. But, how many of us actually live by that simple philosophy? Not many of us do because we get busy with work and the daily hustle and bustle of our lives. However, just telling people you appreciate them and that they are important to you is an important first step. In the song, Tim tells us, "I was finally the husband most the time I wasn't and I became the friend a friend would like to have". I've decided that I want to be that husband, father, and friend that the people I care about deserve. Although I am not going sky diving or 2.7 seconds on a bull named FuManChu, I figure I can "love deeper, speak sweeter, and give forgiveness I've been holding back".
With that comes the easy things, like taking a much talked about trip to Zion, going to the baseball games, having backyard BBQs, taking a much needed flight to Arkansas, watch Matthew play in the park, and go on date nights with my wife. Doing these things will take sacrifices like spending less time in my Lazy-Boy, less on line poker, less time browsing the Internet, and other things. However, we all know those aren't actually sacrifices--they are just things that get in the way of our living life.
It's the difference between being alive and living.
Many people that these words reach I have known between 20 and 30 years. Some folks I've known much less. Either way, if you are reading these words, you can bet that you have made a difference in my life and I am thankful that you are here for and with me. I'm not to big of a man to say, I love you.
At least that's the love filled view as I see it.