So it’s a Hallmark Holiday. No kidding. The commercialization of love, romance and all that stuff. Makes you feel like you have to do something, or someone else will think you not worthy. Special lunches, dinners, flowers, candy…the list goes on and on. You certainly don’t feel like doing it, right? Who would?
Although the other person on the receiving end of those cards, gifts or dinner, might just feel differently and you might want to keep that in mind as well. Give and get back many times over. Remember that, it might make it easier.
Then again, suppose you were already were doing those things. Suppose Valentine’s Day was not the only day of the year you chose to do something special for someone else. Suppose those types of thoughts and actions were habits, or at least part of your schedule every week, or every month. Just suppose.
Then maybe it’s not a chore, or a last minute hustle, hurdle or hassle. Maybe you’re not almost forgetting to do it because the date crept up on you, the thought of what the day really means escapes you, or worse, it’s so far out of your realm of thinking, emotions, or feelings it just makes you regretful every year.
Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be like that and for you, maybe it’s not. I’ve seen it posted all over the place today, every social media and mass media site you can think of. Share the love. Appreciation for who is in your life. Gratitude for those special people. Nice that there is a day to focus on that… but wouldn’t it be cool if it wasn’t just one day? Maybe, every day?
It literally takes a few seconds a day to tell the people in your life you love them. And it takes just a few minutes a day to think of why you are grateful for them and what they do to enrich your life. It’s never perfect, it’s not supposed to be. But if you turn your attention to those things every day… a few seconds, a few minutes, it’s amazing what can happen. Suddenly it’s no longer a once-a-year chore, it’s part of the fabric of your life. And every thread of that fabric makes a difference. It’s not that hard.
A little love every day goes a long, long way.
Think not? Here’s the inside of the card pictured above: “Daddy, happy valentine’s day! You are so amazing and make me smile every day. You spoil me so much and I’m so thankful that you are my dad. I love you. From your Valentine, Emily”
Until next time, thanks for taking the time.
Hopped on the elliptical the other morning – nothing like a good workout to get the creative juices flowing – flipped on the TV for motivation and inspiration for my perspiration, and there on CMT Crossroads is Rascal Flatts & Journey performing together. Good mix. The coolest thing is happening in Nashville, it’s a brotherhood of music. But this is about way more than a country song.
Music is easy – hear a song, write a blog. It’s almost too easy, they write it for you. Most music does that, it’s why it’s the universal language. It’s the very fabric of our lives, hear a song that takes you back in time, or gets you moving forward in the right direction. Whatever, nearly every song creates an undeniable feeling inside, happy, sad, mellow, melancholy, angry, inspired. Very few songs have no meaning, or anything to say… it’s just like life. Some moments are simply wasted, but most of the time if you pause long enough to appreciate it, everything matters. Problem is, too many of us never slow down.
Rascal Flatts & Journey were performing “Life is a Highway” and they were bringin’ it!
“Life’s like a road that you travel on, it’s one day here, the next day gone. “
Been thinking about that a lot lately. It’s one of the reasons I’m blogging and I’m damn sure I’m writing a book(s). I’m gonna ride this thing all night long, and if you’re goin’ my way… we’ll drive this thing all night long. Why not? Ten posts ago I explained it all – I’m going to put it all out there, and not be afraid. Life is too short. Do what you want to do, to do what you love. I can stroke these keys and let it all pour out of my mind as fast as I can think it. Sometimes too fast.
Move down this highway of life too quickly and you lose out. Big time. I’ve learned to slow down, to coordinate, to orchestrate, but most importantly to appreciate. If not, you can’t create the music of your life. If you don’t, if you can’t, it all becomes white noise. Stop and take it in every once in a while. I’ve learned that if I want to thrive, and not just survive, there has to be more and it has to make a difference. I have already made a difference in countless lives in the arena of insurance and financial services, but what about really sharing what’s inside?
“Through all these cities and all these towns, it’s in my blood and it’s all around.”
I’m paying attention. I’m looking for good. I’m working on becoming more, every day. Every day. Too many times you only stop to take notice in chunks of time because it’s so dramatic you can’t turn away. When someone dies, when someone is murdered, when some whacked out radicals fly planes into buildings in the middle of Manhattan, when some asshole opens fire on a school. Then we stop, then we pause, then we pay attention. Too little. Too late. Because while you stopped to smell the sulfur, you forgot to stop and smell the roses. You forgot that every single day something meaningful is taking place in your life. Something small that is making a difference, if ONLY you stopped to notice. The more small things you pay attention to, the bigger the benefit. It’s the compound effect in action.
If you only take the fast lane and ride down the highway at 90 miles an hour – you are not gaining on a soul. You are simply leaving your own in the dust. You can’t outrun anything, it will catch up to you and probably when you least expect it.
“Knock me down and get back up again, your in my blood, I’m not a lonely man. There’s no load I can’t hold, road so rough this I know, I’ll be there when the light comes in, just tell ’em we’re survivors.”
Survivors. One of them lies by my side now every night. She was dealt her hand, one card up and one face down. The dealer was named Breast Cancer, but she decided to take a hit, and she beat the friggin’ dealer. Now she’s playing with House money. Think she’s taking a moment now and then to appreciate life? Still, the mistake we all make is waiting til someone tells you it’s time to play the game… be proactive. Make life your G.A.L. Gratitude. Appreciation. Love. They make a difference, a huge difference, if you just try them on for size. And guess what, one size fits all.
“There was a distance between you and I. A misunderstanding once, but now we look it in the eye”
Don’t let a grudge, a hurtful word, or a miscommunication make the highway seem endless. Take an exit and take a breath. In and out. In and out.
Learn that the toughest situation, the toughest person to handle, just isn’t that tough if you take the time, to take the time, and think it through.
“If you’re going my way… I’m gonna drive it all night long.”
Life is a highway… and if you’re goin’ my way… I’m gonna ride it all night long.” Are you ready? I hope so, because we’re just getting started. And we’ll go there together. I’m happy to take the wheel. Or you can… as long as you take it slow and enjoy the ride.
Until next time, thanks for taking the time.
Sometimes a picture says a thousand words. In this case, not so much, since a few hundred thousand other people really need to be in the camera lens. I just wanted proof we were there. The one-word title is what really says it all.
And it almost didn’t happen. But practice what you preach… never, ever, ever give up. We didn’t. We made it. Myself, my girls, my good friend and his daughters and one other neighborhood friend – all 7 of us – made it downtown yesterday against what seemed like unbelievable odds. Hell, if the Ravens could do it so could we. If you want it bad enough, find a way.
We left at 8:30am for an event scheduled to happen at Noon at the stadium. But the beltway was busting and when we finally made our way to I-95 leading into downtown, it was a parking lot. We were moving 10 feet every few minutes. Not to get in to too many details, but a “hail-mary”, yet strategic exit off the interstate, a quick real-time lesson with the navigation system,(our SUV is about a month old),for an alternate route, plenty of side streets, and we got within a half-mile of the stadium. We quickly parked, started walking, paraded inside… and made history.
Simply put, it was one of the greatest love-fests this city has ever seen. 200,000 people outside on the streets for the parade, another 100,000 people inside of M&T Bank Stadium. For about two hours yesterday, this city had a singular mindset: rejoice. You would think because this wasn’t the first Ravens Super Bowl victory that this celebration might not be as big. You, who thought this, myself included, were wrong. Maybe it’s because it’s even tougher to win it twice, maybe because the Ravens were such a young franchise the first time it happened, maybe because less than two months ago, after the regular-season Denver game, and pictures of Joe Flacco lying face down in the turf at the goal line, this season seemed lost. Maybe because a ton of adversity this season made the victory that much sweeter, and maybe because it was Ray’s Last Ride. Maybe, maybe, maybe. Who cares.
All I know is living it was euphoric. Thinking back on it gives me a lump in my throat. Writing about it makes it real and permanent in my mind, heart and soul for all time.
Articles on paper and online, tv shows, radio shows and I’m sure other blogs will document all the events. My purpose is to share the feeling, not so much the facts, because they are everywhere. If you want to hear the speeches, see the video and pictures, it’s easy, your closest TV, computer, or social media device. But what about how it felt inside… how it felt inside us, the collective mass that joined together in celebration.
It might have been bigger than the Super Bowl itself. I can only relate it to one other sporting event in my life, 2131, the night Cal Ripken broke Lou Gherig’s consecutive game streak. Only because you KNEW it was going to happen. Normally you go inside a stadium or ballpark, you are excited for the game, no matter how big it is, but you don’t know the outcome. So the shared feeling is one of incredible excitement, but also one of anxiety because the game must be played, and the final score, and your team’s chances of winning is only 50-50. On the night Cal broke Gherig’s streak, the chance of success was 100%, the electricity in the air was like nothing I had ever felt because it was as close to pre-determined as any sporting milestone could be. The Super Bowl celebration inside the stadium yesterday was that same feeling.
You were inside the walls of our Purple Palace for one purpose, celebration. Victory was already ours. When the players arrived, when the chanting started, when Ray did the dance…. I mean he did the dance!!! Who thought we would ever see it again on our home turf… it felt like your heart would explode. They could have turned off the lights in Baltimore and the shared power of that celebration would have lit up the city all on its own. The shared experience, the shared emotion, the shared euphoria made your heart, soul and your smile grow a mile wide. Sharing it with my girls (and let me say I am so sorry my wife Debbie had to work, we missed her terribly), and some close friends, just made it all the more special. I even made two new friends in the stands, one of them said she felt her heart pounding so hard she could barely take pictures, her hands were shaking so bad. I could easily relate. It was a day to share, share the feeling, share the love, share the moment with a few hundred thousand of your closest friends. Destiny had arrived. Maybe that’s what it feels like just before you head up to heaven. If so, I’ll take it.
I’ll also take one more thing. The unsolicited appreciation from my girls, as soon as the last speech had ended and we made our way down the ramp and headed for the exit: “Thank you Daddy, thanks for taking us”.
Now that’s a slice of heaven. Epic, indeed.
Until next time, thanks for taking the time.