Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


Where did January go? Every day feels like Groundhog Day, but yet the months are flying by! Our January column was about "resets" instead of resolutions, so maybe we could expand on that and talk about self-improvement.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


Instead of love, hearts, and Valentine's Day? Works for me.


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


Maybe we can tie the two concepts together – become a better person as a Valentine's Day gift to yourself?


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


Instead of looking at what needs improvement, what about learning to love – and accept – yourself?


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


That sounds rather arrogant, as I think it's safe to say that most of us could use some improvement.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


Agree, but that puts the focus on what is wrong with us versus what is right.


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


Interesting thought, especially as I suspect that most of us underestimate, and undervalue, all the positive things we do. It's just so easy to get caught up in the "how to be better" mindset. Which can be overwhelming, as it becomes just one more thing you feel you need to do.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


And, can set you up for failure versus success. Plus, everyone's personal circumstances are different, which is why I am suggesting self-acceptance versus comparing yourself to some other "ideal". Focus on positive traits. Then, build on those.


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


I like that! Especially since building on something you already do will probably take less time than trying to change and, let's face it, lately it seems that time's flying by even more quickly than usual.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


Someone once told me, "The older you get, the quicker time flies." Which means we must use it wisely. Especially since none of us knows how much time we have left.


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


I know you're pragmatic, but that was painfully blunt. Especially given what's going on with the pandemic. In the past, most people preferred not to think about death, but now, at the risk of sounding dramatic, it's all around us and has touched so many people. It's so incredibly tragic.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


Having loved ones die, especially untimely deaths, can have a powerful impact. Which is what happened to me growing up. It made me realize that the future is not a guarantee, but merely an incentive. And that, in turn, had a direct impact on my priorities. And, how I approach life.


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


I remember you telling me that. It certainly explained a lot of things, like what appeared to be your "devil-may-care" attitude. It helped me realize that a lot of your decisions, and actions, were based on your unusual perspective. I guess you can say that you live life based on your experience with death.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


To some extent, but I see the bigger influence being how I want to be remembered at my funeral.


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


I'm not sure I even want to have this conversation, but I'll admit I'm curious. So, do you care to explain that remark?!


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


I believe you should live your life not concerned about what people think and say about you when you are alive. But instead, what they will say about you once you are gone.


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


Why would you care if you're no longer around?


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


By then, what you say you are going to do is a moot point. All that is left are your actions. And, they will speak louder than words. What did you do? Who did you help? Did you try to make a difference?


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


That's a very interesting attitude for someone who doesn't seem to care what people say about you when you're alive!


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


Is it? When people talk about the living, many focus on gossip and/or perceptions. People look at isolated incidents. Recent events or actions. However, when you remember those who are no longer here, you may have specific memories that stand out, but you remember the person. And, what they stood for. You remember them in terms of the life they lived.


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


You're right. Almost every night, Wolf Blitzer on CNN takes the last few minutes to memorialize victims of COVID-19 and he talks about the life they lived. I don't even know them, but it makes me realize how everyone can be special. And the ripple effect everyone has on the lives they've touched.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


Do you remember the conversation we had years ago when we were returning from Cousin Frankie's funeral? We talked about all the incredible things that everyone was saying about him.


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


Absolutely! We weren't close to Frankie, but we learned so much about him by what other people said. He touched so many lives. I remember thinking that, in a strange way, knowing that helped comfort Aunt Maxine and Uncle Connie.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


I remember the recurring sentiment was that he always let his family and friends know that he loved them.


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


Yes, I remember that, too. Since his death was so untimely and unexpected, that was such an amazing gift that he left the people he loved.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


One of the greatest gifts you can give the people you love is to let them know that you love them. Especially because you never know if that will be the last chance you have to let them know how you feel.


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


So true. Which is one of the reasons that Valentine's Day drives me crazy. Although I love getting cards and flowers, I don't think that you should need a holiday or special occasion to prompt these things. Do you really need Hallmark and your local florist to tell you that you should be saying, "I Love You"?


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io



Somehow, I do not think you want to discuss the business aspects of holidays. But you, of all people, understand how easy it is to get wrapped up in day-to-day living. Sometimes we need a reminder to make us stop and focus on what is truly important. Why not use Valentine's Day as an opportunity to stock up on "I love you" cards and then use them all year long? Obviously, Post-it notes, phone messages, or text messages work just as well. There is much truth to the cliché, "It is the thought that counts."


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io



So, does that mean you do or don't want me and the girls to send you a card on Valentine's Day?


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io



Whatever makes you happy. Just promise if you get me a card, it will not be one of those drippy sweet ones. If you really love me, make sure it is sarcastic. And, the more sarcastic – the better.

Want to read other columns? Here's a list.

Photo by nycshooter on iStock


Red's Head assets.rebelmouse.io


This past weekend, I noticed a bunch of flags on my street and wondered why since July 4th is still almost a month away. But this morning, I learned that today's Flag Day.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


Well, for someone who likes to decorate for the holidays, I would have thought you would have known all about it.


Red's Head assets.rebelmouse.io


I've heard of it, but I never really thought much about it, let alone when it is. I knew it had to do with the American flag, but it surprised me that it has nothing to do with Betsy Ross, which legend has made the first flag, although it seems there's no evidence to support that.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


If you want an interesting "story", read about why the American flag is called Old Glory. Regardless, the American flag, like all flags, communicates a message.


Red's Head assets.rebelmouse.io


I know you like to connect odd dots, but only you would see a connection between flags and communications.
Keep Reading ... Show less
Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


Red's Head assets.rebelmouse.io


I can't believe that Sawyer's graduated from high school and will be off to college in a few months. It's so bittersweet. Especially as it seems like only yesterday you were bringing me dinner in the hospital the day she was born – it was wedding soup from my favorite Italian restaurant.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


Well, since that has now become one of her favorite restaurants, that is where we should go to celebrate the start of her exciting new journey.


Red's Head assets.rebelmouse.io


Exciting is an understatement. As soon as she finished her Zoom session with the orientation team at Belmont University, she came downstairs and talked a mile a minute about all the incredible course offerings, and before I knew it, she opened her laptop and was going through everything with me.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


When she showed it to me, I was impressed by the range of courses available, and it made me want to go back to college. But, I was most impressed by her enthusiasm and commitment to opening herself up to opportunities that she might not have previously considered.


Red's Head assets.rebelmouse.io


I know! For years, starting when we taught at KIPP Houston High School, you've told students that college was a step-along-the-way, not a destination. And the perfect opportunity to try new things.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


I also said, "Homework never ends; it just is called 'research' when you get older."
Keep Reading ... Show less