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Let me just be clear - I had absolutely no intention of blogging tonight.  When I woke up this morning, I was already planning my trip back to my bed in the hours after I got home from work.  My plan after I got home was to workout, cook, eat, clean up my kitchen, shower, do a load of laundry.  That was the plan.  Nowhere in that plan do you see write a post.  Well, around 8 this morning, I got some news that would eventually add do a blog post to that list.  
This morning, I got word of a death.  People react differently to death.  Personally, I just lost my aunt a week before Christmas and I guess that holiday season made that seem big.  But this loss I heard this morning hurt me in a place of my heart I didn't know I had.  

I tend to be a quiet person.  I keep to myself.  So when I'm able to connect with people, I consider it something absolutely great.  A couple of years ago, I was blessed enough to meet a young couple who loved each other how I think love was invented to be.  He treated her like a queen and she honored her husband.  They supported the dreams of each other and although they were clearly individuals, it was so obvious they were just meant to be together.  Last night, in a very sudden way, the husband of this dynamic duo died.  I absolutely could not believe what I had heard.  Quite frankly, I turned into a social media stalker because I refused to believe what I heard.  Then his beautiful wife posted this moving tribute that had me sitting at my desk trying to regain my composure because I wasn't even half way through my morning. 

After the shock of the news finally decided to settle and I got myself back together after reading her post, something else dawned on me - these people are younger than me.  In fact, he didn't even make it to his birthday (which was today).  I know none of us know the day or the hour of our death, but it's just something about someone younger than me going on ahead.  

This young woman won't get to have kids with her husband.  This young man will not get to make it to his dirty thirties.  He won't be there to celebrate her birthday this year.  There will be no more kisses goodnight, no more traveling, and no more holding hands.  However, I'm sure she has many great memories of all of those things.  

I know what you are expecting - this is where the blogger tells me tell the people around you that you love them.  Nah, not this time.  I vowed to be a bit more selfish this year because I found myself giving too much to people who wouldn't give me the shirt off their back.  So this is my message to you...

LIVE!!!  ENJOY each day you are given and love every single breath you get to take.  SMILE often, because it is good for your health.  LAUGH until you cry (or until your tummy starts to hurt).  EAT that last slice of pizza and feel no remorse.  MAKE jokes about yourself.  FIND people who are going to love you for who you are, not the monster they are trying to create.  TRAVEL!  GO out to eat alone and do some serious people watching.  GIVE out of the abundance of your heart, not because you feel obligated.  CHANGE the world.  WORK hard.  BE creative.  When someone tells you how you won't be able to do something, SHOW them that you can (and be better at them doing so).  SING out loud (and not just in the shower).  DANCE to the music (even if it is just in your head).  But out of everything I could tell you, please remember to do this one thing - LOVE YOURSELF!!!  You are valued, you are great, and you are one of a kind.  NEVER let anyone tell you different.  

As I end this post tonight and get ready to do the final thing on my list (go to bed early...after untwisting my hair), my heart still aches.  On the other hand, in the short time I knew him, I remember his smile, his love for music, his talent for music, and his kind soul.  I don't know how I will be remembered, but I hope I leave good memories behind - even if it is just this blog.  

Now, go enjoy life and give to yourself before someone else drains you.  Believe me, you are not truly giving to anyone else if you are not giving to yourself first.  Be beautiful.  Be brave.  And always be epic. 


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