YOLO….for so many months I would see this and honestly never even thought about what it meant. I am so not “up to date” with all the new terms and slang. Once I figured it out I had a light bulb go off of course. Nothing is ever simple to me. I take everything to heart for some reason. I just lost my aunt as you know if you read what I blog about. That really took a lot out of me. However, over the past few weeks since she passed I have really tried to think about life and what it has to offer. It seems I wasted so many years doing stupid things and making mistakes that I now cannot change. I didn’t listen to my parents and chose to follow my own path. I have always heard the term “you only live once” but never let it sink in and the true meaning shine through. Why do we as humans take such wonderful terms and ideas and use them as excuses to do things that we are only going to regret later in life? The quote is true YOU DO ONLY LIVE ONCE. However, this isn’t some grand reason to go out and snort a line of cocaine followed by a pint of whiskey while being banged by the high school football team. Seriously, what is wrong with us today? I want to have fun too. I want to live the rest of my life in happiness and have fun but I do not want to do harm to my body that may cut days, months, or even years off of my life. Yes, I was a teenager once and I made too many ignorant mistakes. I wanted to be liked so I did things to get attention that only made me look bad. I sit and wonder how I made it home safely after binge drinking with my so called friends. I wonder how I didn’t get raped or killed by strange men I didn’t know but trusted enough to hop in the car with. What the fuck was I thinking? I try to tell my children not to make the mistakes I made. I let my wounds be opened and I share my scars with them no matter how bad it makes me look because I want them to understand what is right and what is wrong. I want them to know that life isn’t always fair and that they are not guaranteed another day of life. I don’t want my son to drink and drive or my daughters to become teen moms. I did both…..I gave up my childhood when I became a mother at age 18. Yes, I want them to love live and live it to the very fullest. I want them to chase their dreams and live on the edge but do it safely. Life is short. Life is painful. Life is beautiful. Life is life. It is ours to do with what we choose….but with limits. Be someone who your parents will be proud of . Be a parent that your child can look up to. Enjoy each day you have and go out and live it wildly. Breathe in every little minute you have. Stop once in awhile and just notice the beauty that surrounds you. Take time out of your day to enjoy your kids. They won’t be babies forever. You are going to miss those cries, those little laughs, those messy handprints on your freshly cleaned glass door. You are going to miss the cuddling and the sweet wet kisses. When you hold them breathe in their scent so that when they aren’t around to cuddle anymore you can remember that sweet baby smell. Sing to them, read to them, dance with them, just take a few minutes a day to BE WITH THEM. You should pick up that telephone and call those family members you don’t see very often or that friend from school that you have been meaning to check up on. Take your neighbor some cookies or go visit the nursing home. When you get the chance to do something that scares the hell out of you don’t hesitate just do it. That chance may never knock at your door again. I am terrified of heights and all of my life I have sworn to myself that I will never fly. Over the summer the hubs begged me to go up in a helicopter while we were on vacation. I was a little chicken shit and wouldn’t do it…..I get mad at myself every time I think about it because it is on my bucket list and I let the opportunity pass me by. I may never have that chance again….WASTED it! That is something you should do as well. Sit down and as silly as it may seem make a bucket list. Choose things that you want to do and that are within the scope of possibility. Don’t set goals that are unrealistic and you know will never happen. Make it a point to do one of these things once a month or at least every couple of months. Start checking off those wants in your life so that when you are at the end of your journey you have enjoyed the small things….the fun things. Go out each day with the attitude that it is going to be a good day. Say hello and give a smile to anyone you meet. You never know what others are facing and that smile may just brighten their day. I look back on the life I have lived so far. I have my positives but I also have my negatives. I gave life to four beautiful children and two of them are adults now. I have a son who is in college and a daughter who is fixing to give me my first grand child. I am proud of my babies. I put myself through nursing school even though many people doubted me and said I couldn’t do it. I bought my own home and I made it through tough times that in actuality I should have never survived. I have witnessed many miracles including seeing my mom pull through a tragedy when all the doctors said she wouldn’t make it. I was blessed to have had a brother who taught me about life and I was able to see life through the eyes of a young man who knew he was dying. My brother taught me unconditional love. I was lucky enough to have a father who loved me and cared for me with every ounce of his soul. I am grateful that he lived long enough to see me graduate nursing school and become a part of three of my children’s lives. I have clothes to wear, a nice home, a car to drive, and there is food on my table. I have a wonderful husband who is devoted to me and loves me for who I am inside and out. My quest to find a man that equaled my brother came to an end when I met my husband. I finally found out what love is all about. Yes, I made those mistakes in my earlier years and it took me over 30 years to realize that my parents were right. It took me that long to figure out life is about living not just existing. You only live once….so true. You should make those years count. Love the life you live. Go out and chase your dreams but live in a positive light! Love yourself and love others always! Remember to be kind to everyone. They way they treat you is their karma!! Learn from your mistakes and don’t make them twice. Enjoy this journey that is called life. It isn’t the beginning or the end but it is what is in the middle that counts. It’s the ride…..put those hands up and scream as loudly as you can. You’re gonna face bumps and curves but in the end it will be worth it. Remember the great quote from President Abraham Lincoln….” It’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years!!!! YOLO baby! Make it beautiful!!!