“I never said thank you for that, thought I might get one more chance… “

What would you think of me now,
so lucky, so strong so proud.
I never said thank you for that,
now I’ll never have the chance”– Jimmy Eat World “Hear You Me”

There are no words regretted like those left unsaid. This phrase and feeling has been repeated, rephrased and framed on the walls of the poetry/arts “hall of fame” since the formation of language. Usually, it’s in the context of not telling someone you love them, and then losing the chance. I read an article last week written by a nurse who had compiled the top 5 regrets of people on their death bed and number three was some variation of wishing they had the courage to express what they were feeling. I think I would include, wishing that they had seized the opportunity to express what they were feeling. I like to think of it as the most important time management of your life you will ever engage in. Isn’t the excuse for everything these days… “I’m too busy?” Too busy to write a kind note, leave a small voicemail, write a nice text, bake a tasty meal. We just don’t have the time.

For as many mean thoughts and words are created and expressed throughout the world, I think there are as many non-expressed kind thoughts and words that we are holding in or thinking “we don’t have time for”. If you disagree with me, think of your day today: How many times did you think “Wow, I love that girl’s smile” or “Thank you for letting my car go in front of yours in the bumper to bumper traffic” (A true rarity for us Los Angeleans). And yet, how many times do we actually say it to that person, or wave and express the gratitude to the car behind us? I would challenge you to think about all the kind thoughts you have, that you are hesitant to express. Or maybe too cynical to give a second thought to? We think, “Carl was really nice to me at work today” and before we can say the word kindness the automatic second thought is “I wonder what he wants”. Maybe we avoid saying thank you because we’re too busy judging motives.

Or maybe it’s because you don’t know the person and walking up to them and telling them they have beautiful eyes may (in some area codes) be sufficiently creepy and warrant a stalker arrest. But maybe you do have the opportunity, to say thank you to “Suzy” for ringing up your groceries (they do wear name tags for a reason by the way: use their names!) Yes it’s Suzy’s job, and yes you may have waited 15 extra minutes because she was chatting with Joe the bag-person the whole time but nevertheless: you and Suzy have interacted. You have connected in some way, and she has, as small of a role as it may be, affected change in your life. There is something to be thankful for to Suzy. There is something to be said.

After all, we are on this earth, living these lives together for a reason. No one is an island. We all can help and support each other and we all need help and support. And the more thankful we are for it, the more we will probably get. And the more we get the help, the more we give.

There is always something to be thankful for, so let’s vow to not live a life in which we can think back and say “I never said thank you for that, now I’ll never have the chance”. Because the truly scary thing is that if you don’t make it a habit to recognize and be thankful for the small things, you may be missing the big things. The big thank yous. The thank you for the parent who was on your side no matter what, even if you were wrong. The thank you for the friend whose shoulder you cried on and stained black with your mascara after the big break-up. The way your co-worker stood up for you instead of throwing you under the bus in front of your boss. To the ones who were there for you: in the heartache, pain, sweat, tears. That helped you grow into the “lucky, strong, and proud” person you are today.

Say thank you for that, you never know when you won’t have the chance.

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There is ALWAYS something to be thankful for.

This time of year is the best reminder that there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for. Thanksgiving really exists 365 days a year. It is an attitude, not a holiday. It is a decision to be like Louis and “think to myself, what a wonderful world.”

This week, try to find the wonderful in your world. It may be God’s creation, it may be a loved one who has really helped you in a time of need. It may be as simple as getting a green light, or a tasty lunch. We all have difficulties and struggles. Some days seem to give us everything BUT things to be thankful for. But as one of my mantras of life says: the reason we even suffer or feel pain is because we know the beauty of what it is not to feel pain. We live in a world where there is no rainbow without rain. We would not know true happiness if we did not experience the opposite. And the really amazing thing that we can do is be thankful for the things we didn’t even know we were saved from.

So tomorrow morning, and every day, let your first and every thought be, that it is really a wonderful world.

Scar Tissue that I wish you saw.

“Autumn’s sweet we call it fall
I’ll make it to the moon if I have to crawl
With the birds I’ll share
This lonely view”

It’s lonely at the top. And the world tells us that the top is where we want to be. The message we receive is that if you want to be successful, if you want to “make it to the moon”, you have to give it all you have. Walk until all your legs come out from under you. Crawl to reach your destination and step on whoever gets in your way.

The sweetness of autumn provides an opposite picture than the one of isolated success. During this time of year, we are gearing up to spend time with other people. The holidays are one of the few times in our society that we can’t avoid people the easy way we can during the year. It forces us to come together and enjoy the company of others. Contrast our constant strive for success and pleasing ourselves and think about what we are thankful for, celebrate memories with others and spend quality time creating a shared feeling of togetherness, home, and love. The holidays are a hard time for many people. Maybe you didn’t come from a happy home or don’t have many family or friends to spend it with. Sometimes relationships get so strained that the closest people in your life are the very ones you need to let go of. The holidays are also a time where deep wounds re-surface, and anger, bitterness and resentment are the resulting emotions when you think about what this holiday season “should” look like. And you wish whoever hurt you so much would get to see your scar tissue. The wound from that broken relationship and what it took for you to heal. Maybe these experiences make you dread the holidays and wait for it to come and go so you can get on to living without having to think of any pain.

It’s hard to live in a world where another person can hurt you and disappoint you. The natural response is to feel that because that person hurt you, everyone else will. “No one cares about me so I must care about myself and not care about anyone else.” This is the response we are tempted to have when faced with pain, betrayal, rejection and all the other array of emotions that a human being’s actions can cause us to feel.

But wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could love each other as we would want to be loved. Forgive like we’d want to be forgiven? That is after all, what we were made for, to do. Don’t crawl through life with the wound and limp that someone else’s careless or ill-intended actions created. Find the strength to stand up and go through life together with other humans. The ones that have the potential to let you down. Showing love and grace to them as you should to yourself. There’s no better formula for success.