It has been a week since the ball dropped and the world rang in 2014. It probably seems a lot longer for those of us who made our new years' resolutions. Unfortunately, the turn of the new year came with some tragic news that an old college friend of mine died suddenly and unexpectedly. My sadness and nostalgia has prompted me to rethink my new years' resolutions already. Hopefully for the rest of my time as an earthling -- at the cost of being out of shape -- I am going to do a lot more to appreciate and value relationships the way we do once they are gone.
The first time I lost a friend was a few weeks before my high school graduation. My locker mate and dear friend Toby of seven years committed suicide and I vividly remember going to great lengths to memorialize him. I repeatedly went to all of his favorite spots, I reenacted things we did together and I blasted his favorite song from New Order (on loop) whenever I was in my car. I remember trying to "talk" to him and express my feelings through some telepathic channels. Looking back, I wonder if I ever came close to cluing him in about how I felt. Sadly, I doubt it.
That was the first of way too many losses that have affected me during my relatively brief forty-one years on earth. With all, I felt sadness, helplessness and regret. The first two are perhaps healthy and unavoidable. As for regret, I believe that I could have mitigated those feelings by being more effusive in the present with those who are now gone.
I am not going to limit my new lifetime resolution to those who I am in good standing with either. Yes, we all have relationships that appear to be irrevocably broken. And at some point, spending an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out ways to repair them is probably futile and takes energy away from the ones that could be reconciled.
Like everything in life, we cannot control others and are responsible only for our own actions. At the end of the day, if you can look yourself in the mirror and feel comfortable that you did everything possible to make things right, you should have a sense of peace.
In today's society filled with pressures, it's understandable that sometimes we gloss over the true meaning of life. Do we actually have time to look in the mirror, do a gut check or reflect on who we really are?
It has become common to say, "You only live once." But what does that really mean? I'm not sure that most kids -- or adults for that matter -- running around using the term actually have stopped long enough to think about it. The notion of You only live once seems to have attracted Madison Avenue, too. Today, apparel companies are superficially targeting tweens use of the acronym as regularly as Lacoste uses the crocodile. YOLO, is as common in today's vernacular as OMG, LOL and yes STFU.
Madison Avenue is as remiss as most of us when it comes to truly appreciating the meaning of YOLO. Sure, the image of kids frolicking on beaches and college kids drinking beer with their buddies is cool and exciting. However, it's what's in the guts of those images that really matters. Couldn't all of these slangs have subliminal meaning, too? STFU, doesn't necessarily mean close your mouth. It could mean, if you post something on a social network you might not get a job one day. Or your words might be so hurtful and you aren't even cognizant what they represent to the receiver. OMG could mean that what you are doing is hysterical but your act could come back to haunt you from karma, God or both depending on your beliefs. And LOL could mean I am actually laughing at you, not with you
My resolution is to take a deep breath and try to pay closer attention to my words and actions. It may help me better understand the meaning of life. Not just in the moment. But what impact my actions and relationships will have on my soul. After all, it's not too long before "We Outtie."
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