Have you ever seen the movie The Big Chill? It’s about a group of friends that were close knit and were a family. Everyone had a role and no matter what they had each other’s back. Those are the kind of friendships that mold you to your “older self”. When I was in my early 20’s I was with a group of friends just like that.  Every meal, every Saturday night, all the drama was within this group and it was a fun and a developing time. Yes, I made a lot of mistakes during that time, probably partied more than I needed but it was an absolute time that I will never forget. Today that time seems like a lifetime ago. On Tuesday I received a call that one of our friends from that era had passed away. Just like in the movie we all grew up, had families, moved away and lost touch. We had occasional get-togethers but nothing like it was. So now on Saturday, we are all getting together to say goodbye to our friend.

This brings me to the title of this, life can and will pass you by in an instant. It seems like only yesterday when we were all together. No one ever knows when it’s their time it just is. I blinked and I was 50, blinked again and both my parents are gone, I don’t want to blink and be 70 and look back on my life with any regrets. I have made big changes in my life and tell everyone I know to hang on! We have to grab opportunities and absolutely do what makes us happy. We have more control than we think. Being stuck in a job is not an excuse to give up happiness. Do something, anything that will change that circumstance. Life isn’t all rainbows and unicorns but life is definitely in our control.

Before my Mom passed away we having a conversation where I was complaining about my life and she said to me “What do you want on your headstone?” I really didn’t have an answer so she continued and said “you can have your headstone say anything you want it to say……… just don’t let it say ‘Here lies Michelle Hudman, she worked really hard’. If you want to be happy and at peace FIGHT for it.” I don’t always get it right, but I have fought harder in the past 2 years for that happiness than I have in a long time. The unfortunate part of this is that it took a tragedy for me to realize this. I have dealt with friends and family passing away since I was 18, I understand death and how to grieve, but what I didn’t understand is how to pull myself out of a grief that devoured my life so intensely. It has taken time but I getting there, I have some pretty deep lines that I won’t cross and one is ensuring that I am in a company that will fuel the passion I have. I will not be around people that suck the happiness from me, and I will offer my help to whoever needs it.  Life is here and it’s now, and with every breath that you take don’t let life pass you by……..

R.I.P. Jeff your smile and kind heart will never be forgotten,  8/15/65-4/23/17

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