Answer the Question – A Special Thanks to Mom (and Mr. Anka)

There is a saying that Moms always know best . . .
Maybe this is true; however, I’m not sure if all moms know best. But I am sure that moms have ways of saying things that stay with us for a very long time.
The world has certainly undergone some changes since Mom has been around.
I know this.

Now, before moving onward, I am going to ask if I can appeal to your emotional side.
My request is simple. Then again, my request is that you try and feel the words I’m offering. Try to picture life. As we endure the descriptions of our memory, I am going to ask that you feel this internally and allow this to open up to you as a vision of hope. My intention is to offer this: Hope and love and the truth of our very existence.

I am not a newspaper fan nor do I watch the news. However, I am aware of what goes on around us. Although I try to ignore many of the stories, there are some events that cannot go unnoticed. For instance, recently there have been several losses in the famous community which, to me, a loss of life is a loss of life. In the end, all the money, fame and celebrations do nothing else but prove that we’re all people with an hour and a date. Life is limited no matter how big or small your bank account is – nothing can stop that motion of our life, not even fame.

In fairness, our time is finite.
Life comes with three guaranteed parts. There is our beginning, a middle and, eventually, all life comes to an end.

This is where Mom’s quote always comes to mind.
Mom used to tell me, “Death is a part of life.”
Mom told me this when I was young. I’m not sure why or who it was at the time, but I think it was my Aunt Minnie who passed. Either way, someone important in my family passed away and in her moment of grief; Mom looked at me and said “Death is a part of life.”
I had no idea what this meant at the time. I was too young to understand the concepts of life or death and, at best, I think I might have been in my pajamas and holding a teddy bear when Mom told me this for the first time.

I am not a small boy anymore. I don’t have any of my old teddy bears anymore (except for only one).
Since then, I have encountered different parts of life. I have experienced loss and I have had to say goodbye to friends, loved ones and family members. 

In the face of these losses, I was told you only live once.
Then I was told that no, you live every day.
I was told you only die once. 
However, at the same time; I can see an argument that suggests we’ve died while alive and on the morning after, we have been reborn.
I can see the argument that we live and die more times than we realize.
I can say that life as we know it is constantly changing. I can also say that while I’ve never been friends with any of the famous people who died recently; I can tell you that my association with their legacy or their music aligns me with spiritual connections to memories from my past.

And Mom too.
There are songs which come to mind and they have a connection to a specific moment and a memory.
To me, these special gifts are enough to bring me back to a specific time and place. 

Take Paul Anka for example. 

I’m not sure why or how but Mom chose this song for a special event on my 13th birthday. I say this with an odd approach because I have no real memory of the time.
Then again, it’s been a long time since I was 13. It’s been a long time since I was that young or small.
However, I know that I was there for the event and that this was a part of my life.
I know what happened in my youth; however, as I look back now; my youth is more of something that happened in a storybook or in another lifetime. Sometimes, I look upon my memories as if to watch a heartfelt movie. Other times, I look back as if the movie I’ve watched was in a different language with closed-captioned or subtitles which move too quickly for me to read or understand.

But I digress.

The song Mom chose for the occasion on my 13th birthday was entitled, Times of Your Life.
It starts out with “Good morning, yesterday. You wake up and time has slipped away.”

I suppose at the time, I never thought much about the lyrics. Then again, I never thought much about anything that had to do with time or the future. No, I was fine to live in the beautiful ignorance of youth and suppose that nothing would ever be so crucial or important that there would never be another tomorrow.

However, my association with life and the nearing features of age and health are truly different now. I have lived for more than half-a-century which was once unthinkable to me.
50 was old. Know what I mean?
In my youth, I supposed this would mean that life is on the downward slope. Who knows? Maybe it is. Or, maybe now is my time to make things great. Maybe now is the time to relive moments and rethink my position; therefore, before I pass the last marker, I can do as I choose and evolve as I want to.
I understand more about life and the details of my future. I understand more about the importance of a plan because when you’re young – to hell with it all . . . and that would be fine to throw caution to the wind because when you’re young; you can fly by the seat of your pants. You can fall down and still have the ability to heal and get back up. But the time is now and this moment is more important that we realize.
When you’re young and counting on the plethora of tomorrows, nothing could ever be so crucial or important. Nothing was a big deal or at least nothing was ever such a big deal that time couldn’t step in and we’d have another shot to take care of it. 

But ah, time is finite. Time is only infinite in a literal sense but, to us, we are all limited to an occasion where at some point we’ll all look back at who we are and what we’ve accomplished. 
I think about the words “Act now!” because they mean everything.

Mom used to try and tell me to enjoy the moment.
I would argue this.
Can you believe that?
I would argue whether I should enjoy something because I didn’t think that Mom understood. 
I was misguided by so much at the time.

I didn’t think Mom knew about my life or that she’d get what I was going through.
Too, I didn’t realize that as an outsider or loving spectator, Mom was only watching and wishing the best for me.
She was helpless and powerless the same as we all are when watching someone we love go through a hard time.

I will say that life is hardest when we try to control the uncontrollable. I will say that whether we can control certain things in our path or not; or whether we can buy another day or earn another memory; life is always happening. Life does not ask if you’ll agree with its chapters nor does life look to coincide with our feelings.
No . . .
Life is always moving and as we move along together, life is unwavering and unrelenting. 

I go back to that song: Times of Your Life
Reach out for the joy and the sorrow
Put them away in your mind
The memories are times that you borrow
To spend when you get to tomorrow.

This is life.
Every day. . .

I go back to what Mom said when she told me that dying is a part of life.
I go back to the idea when people tell me you only live once or that we only die once.
I say that figuratively speaking, we live and we die throughout our life and that our losses and gains become the seasoning which adds to the flavor of our individual existence.

I can say that I have had my share of unfortunate times. I can say that I have contributed to the sourness of my life and, yes, to the sweetest of moments, I can say that these little miracles of life belong to me.
Whether these moments lasted for a long time or as brief as a quick fizzle in a pan; I have had the benefits of memory.

I have these frozen-framed pictures in my mind of smiles which mean the world to me. I have the benefits of seeing people who love me and who care. With them and with this in my heart, I know that my life was not pointless or unsuccessful.
I know that while all of us have moments of doubt or times where poor choices lead us astray; still, there is good in this world.

There are amazing things to see. There are beautiful discoveries just waiting to be enjoyed. However, there is an internal resistance for some (or maybe this is only me); whereas, there is an internal battle or defiance that refuses to let go of old shames or moments of regret. There are times when we are afraid to let go of old positions or old mentalities because, of course, we were either hurt or blamed or felt the stings of regret. The mind does not like this. The mind winces with expectation. Therefore, we act perhaps subconsciously in fairness to our defense and we close ourselves off, unbeknownst to our best interest. Therefore, there are so many great details that we miss or that we pass by – all the while, the truth is we only want to live and be happy. But fear pulls off its trick; therefore, we behave in response of being afraid all the time.
Afraid to lose.
Afraid to fall again.
Afraid to feel pain, rejection or the worry that somehow something about us is flawed or unlovable.
Hence the porcelain statue which I refer to as our ego because God forbid someone sees us as human, which we are.
We all are and then some.

There are times when we are made to dance. There are times when we are made to sing and play along. There are also times when we have to enjoy and howl and scream and carry on because these times are moments that come with a limited number. 
This is life, like it or not.

I once told you that action is the enemy of depression.
I once mentioned that movement creates change and that life is not meant for living in the rearview mirror.
I also told you that the change of momentum in our life can be as odd as a right-hander trying to write with their left, or vice-versa.
Nevertheless . . .
There has to be a time for joy.
There just has to be. . .

For example, I just looked out of the window to notice there were large snowflakes falling from the sky.
Just now and I needed to be sure and tell you about this.
The snowflakes are falling slowly and the wind is carrying them on a diagonal motion almost swooping them around in tiny circles and then softly landing on the ground.
There is something youthful about this to me.
There is something linking me back to a vision of being in grade school, young as can be, and suddenly a spectacle like this took place on the outside of our little classroom. Just like that, a roomful of young students cheered with the ever-inspired response of “ooohs” and “ahhhs,” because, in fact, this was beautiful. And it still is beautiful.
Life is beautiful. (And so are we.)

Even in spite of its flaws and its crazy interaction, life is an amazing journey; whereas we have three parts – a beginning, a middle, and an eventual end. 

No one knows the hour or the day, at least not really.
No one knows what will come for them.
It’s like we’ve always said: in each life, a little rain must fall.
But you do know that, rest assured, it can’t rain forever, right?

So I go back to Mr. Anka and what he said about the times of our life
Gather moments while you may
Collect the dreams you dream today
Remember, will you remember
The times of your life?

I offer this as humbly as I can.
I extend this to you, my most special friend in this entire world.
I give this to you, which I have mentioned before; but to me, this is everything that I have.
This is all that I own: these words, this sentiment, my heart and my truths.
So, please take them as you can.

Mom always told me that dying is a part of life. But this is only one part of life. There are new births on a daily basis. There is more to see and more to feel. And yes, there will be more times of hardness and pain; but again, it can’t rain forever.
Life cannot stop you. Nothing can.
Not even death can stop us because life has come to create our memories and thus, we will live on and even outlast eternity.
(If we choose to.)

You are the most inspirational thing that I have ever seen.
Trust me. Look in the mirror.
See that this is the time of your life.
Notice the fears and the flaws and all that’s gone on yet here you are.
Still standing. Still living. And you’re still breathing.
I say that means something.

I have walked countless steps and thousands of miles and, like you, I have more to do and more to see.
I just can’t give up. Therefore, I won’t give up.
I don’t know what my end will be like or when this will come.
But I do know this, I’m here now.
I’m watching the snowfall with a cup of coffee.
I’m writing this with a thousand different things going on at the same time.

I have fears and worries. I have insecurities and concerns about making my way into the next chapter.
I have hopes to lay in the sun once more and feel the warmth on my skin.
I have drive and desire and although doubt has a way of sneaking in, somewhere deep inside the boiler room of my soul I know that I still have so much life in me. I still have a fire which lights my way.

Today’s question is this: who do you want to be?
I want to be as real as my words on this page.
I want to be as inspired as my Mother intended me to be.
I want to be as alive and vibrant as the person in my youth.
I want to be as wondrous as the snowfall and as joyous and beautiful as the sunset.

I want to cast aside my worries and my fears and, for the moment, even if this is for only right here and right now, I want to live this very second with the love I have in my heart.
I need this because nothing else will ever be guaranteed again.
Not tomorrow or the next day. No, this is all I have,
Right here. Right now.
With you.

These are the times of my life

(for now)

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