Make the People You Love a Priority

My Granny and me. I miss her every day. 

My Granny and me. I miss her every day. 

Whenever I come back from visiting Fairhope or Birmingham or any other city where my good friends and family live, I always feel kinda blue, the way kids do the day after Christmas.

I wish everything and everyone I loved always lived within twenty minutes of me. No matter where I am, I always miss someone. Sometimes this makes me sad. But as Winnie the Pooh says, "How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."

While I was in a coffee shop in Fairhope, two very old ladies sat down behind me. They reminisced about their youth and talked about family and friends who had died. "I think about my mother every day," one woman said. "I was always so close to her. I adored her. I miss her so much."

A few years ago I had a big argument with my dad. I don't recall what it was about, but I was being a rude, hurtful brat. My dad stopped me and said something like this: "Don't lash out at the people who love you. One day they'll be gone." I still act like a rude, hurtful brat sometimes, but I usually remember those words when I do. I know he's right, and I try to be better.

When you're a little kid, you don't realize how much loss all the grown-ups around you have experienced. Grown-ups don't usually talk about that with little kids. Then one day you lose someone or something you love, and then you start to understand.

The older you get, the more often and more likely it is that someone you love has moved away, drifted away, or passed away. We never have enough time. We have to use it wisely.

I keep this article on the "Top Five Regrets of the Dying" saved on every browser I use. Number 2 and number 4 on the list remind you to make the people you love a priority.

Remember Ozymandias and his mighty works. Don't waste time on meaningless acquisition and the pursuit of power. It all fades. You will be forgotten. Nothing you do is so important and lasting as the time and effort you put into loving the people around you.

I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
— Ozymandias, by Percy Bysshe Shelley