Today, I celebrate the woman who gave birth to me and raised me. Literally, if it wasn’t for her, I would not be here today and I am so thankful for her existence. My mom can be crazy, hot tempered, and misunderstood, but, above all things, she is my mom and I will always love her, appreciate her, and respect her. Yes, she has her moments of nagging, over protectiveness, and suffocating affection, but she’s a mother of three. Point out a mother who doesn’t do those things. Of course, during those moments she’ll get an irritable daughter or son trying to push her away, but, in the end, it’s all out of love. I can honestly say that my mom is among the most caring, loving, and selfless people I know, which is exactly why she wins over virtually anyone who crosses paths with her. Ask anyone of my friends and they will tell you how sweet she is. I give my mom a hard time sometimes, but she knows that my sarcasm and tough love is just exactly that love. I’ll go easy on her today, since it is her birthday and all, but I hope that, regardless of what day it is, she never forgets how loved and appreciated she is. My mother has been good to me throughout my twenty-one years of life and I hope I’ve been just as good to her because she deserves nothing less.
I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t always been the most appreciative person. When I was in elementary school, I had a tendency of dramatizing my problems and thinking that things like not having all of my friends show up to my birthday party or losing in baseball were the worst things that could happen to me. I didn’t understand that, although I didn’t have the best situation, I didn’t have the worst either. However, once my middle school years came along, things got tougher, teaching me a few good lessons that I now try to pass on to others and which I will certainly pass on to my children. I learned to be more optimistic and appreciate what I do have, what I have experienced, and what I can do. Now, that I’ve gone through certain situations, it’s hard for me to see people be so ungrateful and so ignorant of the opportunities standing right in front of them that they’re choosing to look past. It’s frustrating to realize that some people don’t know how blessed they are. It’s even more frustrating to know that I used to be one of those people and am now trying to open the blind eyes of others to no avail.
I know that I do not have it the worst. I am grateful for the house I live in, the family I have, the job I work, the love I receive, and the passion I am nurturing, but there are also opportunities that I wish I had who people so close to me take for granted. One thing I wouldn’t take for granted is having my family near me. I never had the chance to go to school with my cousins. I was never able to be at the hospital for the birth of a new addition to the family. I haven’t been able to see my family whenever I wanted to. Although living in the states has been one of the best things that could have ever happened to me, unfortunately, I’m miles away from all of my extended family every single day and I miss out on a lot. I wish I could watch my nephews grow up in person, rather than in pictures. (It’s honestly a relief that the oldest still remembers who I am.) I wish I could learn more family recipes every day, which is why when they come to visit I try to learn whatever new dishes I can. I wish I could say I’ll see you soon to so many of my relatives, but I can’t. They either live way too far away and the funds aren’t there to make frequent visits or they are simply no longer with us. That’s the simple truth. I can’t and it frustrates me to see people who don’t appreciate things like that.
There are so many opportunities I wish I had. Seeing my family is only one of them, which sparked this little rant of mine, but it truly does bother me to see people live on in such an ignorant fashion. “Hashtag first world problems” is the best way to sum up their complaints. I admit that sometimes I get caught up in the little things, but I try to make a conscious effort about what I complain about. I may think about how frustrating sitting in traffic may be, but I’ll always think “at least I have a car and a job to go to or at least it’s a nice day and my air conditioning is working,” completely stopping me from voicing my miniscule annoyances. The way I see it is I will always have problems and imperfections in my life. Yes, I might have it bad sometimes, but there is always someone else who has it worst than me. Ask my best friend. I frustrate her to no end when I refuse to admit what’s bothering me because of this mindset, but it’s true. Someone else may not have shelter, food, or water. They might be physically abused, unable to graduate, or terminally ill. I think that somebody always has it worst than me, so I shouldn’t burden others by verbalizing my complaints about the small things. At the same time, I have to appreciate what I do have. We all should appreciate what we have because the person next to us doesn’t always have those same things as well.
It might be innate to criticize the imperfections around us, but we have to make it second nature to highlight the positives we experience. Not everything is so bad, so why make it seem that way? Instead appreciate what you have, but can’t change and work toward changing the negatives that are in your control. Don’t let opportunities pass you by because you were too busy focusing on complaining about x, y, and z. Perhaps, with some more optimism, you won’t notice so many problems in your life.
Within the past few years, I have been reminded that the place of a father in your life is not guaranteed. There is no permanence to the amount of time spent with someone, even if it is someone as important as your father. I know too many people who have lost their fathers or father figures too early, while I know just as many people who have never even had the opportunity to get to know their dads. For that reason, Father’s day is even more important to me. It reminds me of how blessed I am to have such a wonderful dad in my life.
My dad has made mistakes and there are times, just like with anybody, that I don’t understand him, but, at the end of the day, he’s my father and he will never let me forget it. Ever since I can remember, my dad has been there for me and my family in ways that people will never understand. But the best part is that he is still right by my side no matter what. He supports me in whatever I want to do, he offers his intellectual advice when it’s needed, and he is there to try to make everything better when things go sour. He’s been a shoulder to cry on, a personal chef, a doctor, and most definitely my papi. Whenever I need something, he will be there no matter what and I love him for it. I love him for everything he’s done for me and continues to do.
I will proudly say that I am a daddy’s girl and I have no shame in saying it. I’m not saying I’m spoiled or prissy, but I’m saying that I have an endless amount of unconditional love for him and I know he has that same amount of love for me. I just feel so lucky to have him as my father and, more importantly, that I still have him in my life today. I wish my papi and all of the wonderful fathers a very Happy Father’s Day. Enjoy your day dads!
When Death stares you in the face, you realize how real he is. It suddenly hits you that all those years spent doubting his existence were a stupid waste. You spent so much time teasing and tempting him, never expecting to see his apparition, but, now that he’s here, there’s so much you would change. There are so many things you would undo and so many opportunities you wouldn’t let go of. You wish you had listened to Death’s warning and had experienced life in its entirety. When Death stares someone next to you in the face, you realize all this and then some. You realize how fortunate you are to get a second chance because that is exactly what you are getting when Death looks away from you and at another.
When you see Death without fully experiencing his wrath, you are being given an opportunity to right all of your wrongs before he looks into your eyes. You see how definite Death is, noticing the delicate balance of life. You learn to seize every moment, making the most of everything you’re given, no matter how small. A minute, a penny, a hand. They all seem miniscule in comparison to other lively prizes, but you don’t know which of these tools will be the one to lead you further on. You don’t know which one will be your last one, so you are forced to expend every bit of each one.
With this newfound appreciation for life, you learn to truly seek and appreciate happiness, not the comfort of those around you. If you live in misery while the person you’re sacrificing yourself for thrives, are you truly content? Yes, the joy of others brings us peace and joy as well, but only when we have found our enough balance within to appreciate the positive vibes of others. Happiness is found within yourself and, frankly, you cannot fake or replace true happiness with that of another’s, so you learn to find it for yourself.
The coming visit from Death also allows you to realize that things can always be done differently and progress is always possible. The only end of your human life is Death’s arrival, but, until then, your soul can keep learning, growing, and progressing. A life is never done maturing, so don’t stop it from doing so. Perhaps, you can be nicer or maybe more effort can be exuberated. It is just a matter of your own determination, which will decide how far you can go in life.
Death is scary. He is terrifying and, unfortunately, he’s also the only thing that’s definite, but sometimes the fear he strikes is the remedy. Sometimes he’s the turning point a person on the wrong path needed in order to find better. I know people who have seen Death and have continued on like he was joke, changing nothing until regret sets in. But I have also seen those who felt Death’s cold touch, no matter how brief or distant, and have turned around, now moving toward a bigger picture in their lives. Their paths started off as rocky and dark, but ended with smoother edges. These people saw Death and realized life’s worth. Those were the people who helped me realize life’s worth.
For all of you love birds, simply enjoy the day together, no matter what you do. Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be a big deal, but it’s important that you show your appreciation for each other. Even if he doesn’t get you the perfect bouquet of flowers or if she overcooked dinner, it’s the thought that counts. Use today as an opportunity to show each other how much you mean to each other and how much you care about each other. Even though you should be doing this on the regular, this is certainly a good excuse to get romantic, so don’t let it fly by.
For those of you who are single, please don’t use today as an excuse to be miserable and play the victim. Not everyone has a meal on Thanksgiving, or presents on Christmas, or even parents on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, so, naturally, not everyone will have a lover on Valentine’s Day, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t surrounded by love, too. Valentine’s Day is also about friendship, family, and love in general. Appreciate the love you get from your family, your best friends, and yourself. I’m sure you haven’t been single since your born day and you certainly won’t be single forever, so don’t mope around as you hate on the couples passing you by. Instead, appreciate the love you do have and have had. When your romance does come, Valentine’s Day will only be that much sweeter.
Happy Valentine’s Day my loves!
I just wanted to take a moment to wish you all a very Merry Christmas! I hope that you all will be able to spend this special day with the people you love the most, whether that means your family, your friends, your co-workers, or your neighbors. Savor the warmth, joy, and love that you feel today. Things may not be perfect right now. You may not have a white Christmas or you may not have gotten everything you wanted for the holidays, but you certainly are not spending the day empty handed. You will always have something to cheer you up, so focus on that and enjoy your Christmas.
Not everybody can say that they have real friends. Not everyone will find a real friend throughout their entire lifetime, but I feel fortunate enough to be able to say that I have a group of real friends. It may not be the biggest group in history, but I know that they are my ride or dies. I can come to them for anything and I’ll always find their support. I’ve met plenty of people in my life and none have been able to stick around as long as my friends have. Most of my best friends have been in my life since middle school, they’ve stuck it out through high school, and now not even out-of-state moves and college can break the bond I have with them. I am honestly so grateful for my friends and I don’t think I express that as often as I should.
They have been there during some of the most important moments of my life, they know things that nobody else knows, and they understand me in ways that other people couldn’t imagine. When people question the group of friends I have, I don’t feel the need to explain my friendships in the slightest bit because, if you don’t get it by now, then you never will. Me and my friends know what we’ve been through together and we know the love we have for each other, which is all that matters to me. I love my friends and, just like I can count on them, I will always be here for them. I can’t tell you how many great memories we’ve shared throughout the years and, with every hang out, the list just keeps growing. I’m so grateful that I have a group of people who I can laugh with, cry with, get mad with, and be stupid with.
To my besties, I love you all and I don’t even have to say names because you know exactly who you are!