South City Confessions: Appreciate what you have, every single day

Maybe it’s the fact that more than 30 people were gunned down in mass shootings last week.

Maybe it’s the fact I drove a guy who had just put his sister on life support this morning.

Maybe it’s the fact the world seems to shit itself one day and wipe its ass the next.

Let me just remind you of one simple fact: you control you, so please, appreciate every single day.

When you first wake up in the morning, breathe a sigh of relief, because someone else didn’t get the opportunity. Perhaps someone even a quarter of your age.

Life sure can suck, but you can beat it on the scorecards if you choose wisely and live it to the fullest.

Here’s what I do to stay ahead on the scorecards. I love what I do, but I also let all the bad stuff hit me just as hard as the good stuff. I live hard, overthink everything, and try not to slow down. But I never think I can control everything. Let’s talk about my life so you understand where I come from, and all of the prior wording isn’t just useless fluff.

I wake up next to a beautiful and intelligent woman who lets me be 100% myself, and a young 7-year-old son who challenges me to a better parent every day. In addition to these fine humans, I have three cats and two dogs. Sure, they are needy and piss/crap all over the house at will, but at the end of the day, they are mine and I am theirs.

I love the movies to a psychotic extent. I watch them, write about them, and obsess over them. Television shows, aka much longer movies, are an obsession as well. I can binge a series and feel the need to drive around thinking about it.

Baseball rules my heart while hockey invests stock in my nerve endings. There’s a tug of war between them while boxing sits off idling to the side. I take baseball losses harder than hockey. Explaining it would be serving each a disservice.

Writing is a part of my soul, homework for life and an endless battle of man and words. I write 35-50 stories a month and consider each one a privilege and not a right. I am still uncomfortable with praise, unsure of how to handle a compliment. Ironically enough, I deal with criticism better.

I am very close to my parents. My dad is my best friend and the decency in me comes from my mom. She taught me to be good to people while my dad taught me what’s right and wrong. I am grateful for both of them. I am not as close to my brother as I would like, but that’s a long story.

I have good friends, even if I don’t see them all the time. It’s not by design, mostly by chance. But I’ll add this: more times than not, I am fine being alone with my family or just myself in a car driving around the city. I am becoming more like Clint Eastwood, a man apart who can socialize with the best of them, but doesn’t need it to breathe cooler air. Friends are the trusted souls you find, but I don’t think a high volume of them are required to be happy. Find a few, settle in, and deal with shit on your own terms.

When I said I let the bad stuff hit hard, here’s the meaning: I don’t overlook it or tell myself it’s not there. A lot of people try to convince themselves the world is all sunshine and rainbows; I think that’s a waste of time. Let the sweet and bitter in. That’s how the passion remains. Living in St. Louis, you know they both exist.

Oh yeah, I am in love with my city. Every part of it. Death, life, and all in between. I drive around it daily, taking it all in. I’m not much for travel because I love my town. It’s who I am and where I’ll be. Always.

Here’s my advice. Find your spot, stick your feet deep in, and live. I can’t say it enough. If you see a person was killed or died too soon, it’s okay to be sad without having a plan to change the world. Example: if innocent souls are taken by life, you can be sad about it momentarily without writing up a new law for gun control and/or mental health reform. I’ll let you in on a little secret: they both exist and aren’t related. Showing sadness about lost life is what makes you one of the good ones. Let it in, push it off, and then go live.

You don’t have to fix the world in order to find your place in it. I am tired of fake martyrs walking around guilt-tripping everyone who wants to shed tears for strangers without whipping out “a plan.” Fuck a plan. Take care of yourself and your family. That is hard enough. Harder than playing a fake Senator.

Appreciate what you have, which is family and love. Appreciate what you don’t have, which is control over all things living and not.

Just do you. 24/7/365. Take a personal day sometime soon, reset the clock, and come back ready to kick ass.

One more thing: It’s okay to not love sports, to just watch them and casually let them go. Please, tell me what that’s like.

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