This morning I woke up remembering the anticipation and excitement that built up every year as my birthday approached as a kid. The joy of having one day of the year that all my friends would come together to celebrate my special day had to be one of the coolest experiences every year growing up. My mom would bake a cake and frost it to perfection, my lungs would get exhausted from blowing up balloons for decorations (later for balloon wars) and picking out the best clothes I owned to stand out above the rest. We would play all sorts of games and just really enjoy each other’s company with the star for the day being myself.
Although the day would be centered around myself I can still remember the shared excitement we all felt together when I opened my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game (B,A,B,A, Up, Down, Left, Right, B,A, Start), or when I got a pair of Larry Johnson’s Grandmama Converse shoes. In short birthday celebration for all my friends at that time was a blast to host and be an invitee.
As I have gotten older I have seen many people that no longer want to tell anyone it’s their big day, or rather take the time to harp on things they have not achieved in their lifetime. Being miserable on your birthday? Looking at the day like you should be ashamed of yourself for feeling special? I have even been approached by another guy that tried to gain support from me with the notion that guys are guys and birthdays should just be swept under the rug as another day of getting older. He went on further to say that they should only be on a need to know basis and not made into a big deal. Unfortunately he did not know who he was speaking to as no matter how old I am I still love celebrating my birthday. Why not? It has nothing to do with presents or an extravagant party, but just a great excuse to take time out of our busy schedules with those who matter the most to us.
I know most of you remember the jingle, “I don’t want to grow up, I’m a Toys R Us kid”. Well to me on my birthday I revert back to my childhood and try to avoid the stresses of being an adult. I am aware that none of us are Peter Pan living in Neverland where we do not get older; however we need to take a day out of our schedules to at least reflect on the positives we have accomplished over the year. In a future entry I will discuss the importance of finding time to appreciate one’s self, but for this entry I just want to reiterate that no matter how old I turn, it is my mission to continue celebrating my birthday even if it’s just a quick 30 second dance party by myself just to say I celebrated.
In my case one week from today will be my birthday and as you already can tell, I am ready to shake a leg and spend quality time with family and friends. I have never wavered in my excitement about the day of my birth. For those of you that know me…ask my mom! Ever year she will ask me the same question, “Aren’t you too old to celebrate your birthday?” Reading this entry I can imagine that you don’t need me to answer that question.
To sum this all up, if you ever wondered if the text/facebook messages or funny voicemails sent on my birthday go unnoticed and unappreciated, you are completely wrong. I read and appreciate them all. Life is too short not to take a moment laugh, live and celebrate your birthday!
Ridiculous…You’re going to relegate my history to a month? ~ Morgan Freeman (June 14, 2006 interview on 60 Minutes).
Recently I heard a clip from one of the greatest actors of our generation regarding his thoughts on Black History Month and I was intrigued on Morgan Freeman’s views on the annual monthly celebration to remember the triumphs and legacies of our current and past heroes. To summarize his position, my interpretation of his thoughts is that he feels that black history should be a topic discussed in various forums and not only be brought to light every February until the month is over to be stored away in a box collecting dust until the next year rolls around.
My initial reaction was somewhat of disbelief, as I never thought someone would reject the idea of highlighting our past, current and future leaders and accomplishments. Although the clip that was played for me was very brief, I could not stop it from playing in my mind, so I found the entire interview on the internet to try and dissect the words from one of my favourite actors. Within the interview he clarifies his message by stating that, “I don’t want a black history month. Black history is American history.” Of course it is more than just American history; it transcends the entire world, which makes it world history!
Thinking about Black History Month for myself I have looked at the pros and cons of his interview and have deduced that I fully agree and disagree with his sentiments. It is very unfortunate that we have to designate a month for when we are supposed to teach society at large of the sacrifices and achievements that were made to allow our generation to have the opportunities that we sometimes take for granted, or just do not understand the effort that was put forth to enjoy the basic luxuries that are afforded to us today. To know that in the not so distant past, black people were not able to vote, were treated as secondary citizens and schools were segregated by the colour of your skin seems like a horrible nightmare. But it’s true. During every February I am always astonished at the information that is communicated from various mediums about people that I never heard about to those who are well documented with their place in history. I love hearing about Martin Luther King, Barack Obama and Rosa Parks, but there are other great influential leaders or success stories like Lincoln Alexander, Marcus Garvey, Alvin Curling and Mary Ann Shadd. They all have done their part in some way to inspire people of all colours in a large forum or even just in their small local communities. Of course some of these names are recognizable, but even with this miniscule list there are names that no one has a clue who or what they have done to inspire others.
Going back to Morgan’s point as I see it, I agree that we need to make it a goal not as a black community but as society, to make important historical figures of every race taught in our school systems more frequently, discussions need to brought up in community outreach groups, books need to be more prevalent in our libraries, so that the need for a month is not necessary as it is a topic commonly discussed in any month of the year. We need to get to a point in the near future where when someone talks about black history, we do not look around the room trying to find a black person to explain, since “for sure” they know everything about it. Not true! Even the people I named above, I might only know a little about them. Being able to sit in a room and hear a person of another race tell me or someone else about a great black figure that I did not know about brings me great joy.
It was not until University that I truly understood how the power of being taught black history could be so influential and powerful to the mind and soul. I took a Caribbean Studies class and my tutorial class was filled with only black students, except for this one white guy. We had a research project and we had to pick topics from our course material and of obviously I wanted to get music as my topic, as I thought I would be able to kill that topic and skyrocket my GPA based on my findings. Fortunately I did not get it as the one white student received it and let me tell you that I am so glad that he won the battle to present on the topic of a well-known reggae artist, Buju Banton. He began his presentation advising the class that he had never heard of Buju and how he went out and bought his CD to listen to it just for the assignment. His eyes then lit up with excitement as he went into great detail to let us know the message that was being performed on every song and how it related to the class and how influential it was to him . After hearing the presentation, it was truly an inspiration to have this white student have the entire room amazed at his description of the music and be able to teach many of us new things that we never understood previously with the songs. This example is to show that once we are all taught about our history and when I say “our”, I mean every race, then I will be able to truly agree with Morgan Freeman that Black History Month will not be needed. However until then I believe it is necessary to continue to shed light on the success stories from the amazing work done by black people in history.
Last night as I was briskly walking downtown trying to brave one of the coldest days of the year, my manager and I had a discussion about how we have lost our mental toughness towards winter now that we are “older”.
We both reminisced that in our younger days the weather only helped decide which activity we would spend countless hours outside playing. I remember playing ball hockey, football and whatever made up games we could conjure up to have a blast in the cold. In fact, I am sure as kids we had some form of super human powers, because by the middle of the games we would get so hot that portions of the mandatory gear our parents instructed us to wear had been removed. This was in minus 20 weather but my true weather enthusiasts know that with the wind chill it felt like minus 40.
Last night was blistering cold so in my mind this had to be a record low, however I got home and they said with the wind chill it was somewhere near minus 25. I was in disbelief that my conversation about losing my winter toughness might actually be true.
As I tried to understand how this could actually be true, it made me wonder if the argument can be posed that the older we get the more our lack of mental toughness deteriorates. Hey I can remember climbing trees and jumping out of them back as a kid and not stopping even when I saw someone a week later jump out and break their arm. I was invincible and nothing could happen to me! I will still climb that tree today if I had a chance to show myself that I still got it, but you are not catching me testing my so-called “super powers” by jumping out a tree; no matter the height. I believe that for the most part we are more calculating as adults, because we need to evaluate the consequences or probability from our actions. Stay out in the cold, might catch the flu and be stuck in bed for an extended period of time. Jump out of a tree and be waiting in the emergency room at the hospital and get a cast for a broken body part.
Of course I know some of the readers are shaking their heads at me, because fear is not a factor to them. Or feel that I am not embracing my true Canadian spirit. There are others that state that due to Global Warming, we have been spoiled and our bodies are not as prepared as they once were back in day (sounding like my parents with this back in the day talk). To be honest I like this “excuse” the best, because it breaks the entire argument of my lack of winter toughness!
All I know is that when it comes to the cold, I dislike it like I’m a character in the movie Cool Runnings when they experienced a northern winter for the first time.
“Cold? I’m freezing my royal Rastafarian nay-nays off!” ~ Sanka to Derice.
My toughness or tolerance for severe winter weather has been tested in these last couple of days even though I hear plenty of people say they are not surprised with this cold. All I know is that I brought out my heavy winter jacket, toque (winter hat for my non Canadians), scarf and gloves today For the rest of the population that feels that their winter toughness cannot be tested and desire not feeling their toes/fingers or like the feeling of becoming an ice sculpture, the only words I can tell you is those who can’t hear must feel!
Every morning I drive into work listening to my local radio station G97 FM where they have a segment called the ‘Hidiot Ting of the Day’ that on countless occasions has made me chuckle to myself during morning traffic. However, this morning I could not believe the foolishness and nonsense that the chairman of “Gun Appreciation Day” told CNN.
“I think Martin Luther King, Jr. would agree with me if he were alive today that if African Americans had been given the right to keep and bear arms from day one of the country’s founding, perhaps slavery might not have been a chapter in our history,” The Chairman told CNN host Carol Costello.
This appreciation day is to be held in America on January 19, 2013 where supporters of guns will be coming out in droves to march “peacefully” in support of the second amendment for the right to carry a firearm. Guns and peace, pretty ironic to me! Based on my review, outside of the recent shootings that have happened in the US, a lot of people are outraged that this day is set to take place just a few days before the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. His fight for civil rights have been well documented on his approach of non violence, so for the above statement to be thought is utterly ridiculous.
With regards to the fact that this day is being mentioned in the same breath as slavery, makes me wonder if there will be no end to the gun supporter’s debate. Slavery ruined several lives where people were looked at as things that could be manhandled anyway possible and is viewed as one of one the most terrible times in our history as human beings. To diminish the pain and struggles that slaves endured to the feeling that it would not have happened had they possessed a firearm is so sad. Families were torn apart, physical and verbal abuse was had by many and this is used as an example on how guns could have prevented it. Words cannot truly state my disgust that someone would feel that the answer to our world’s problems is a gun and try to mask it with the issues that the slaves and civil rights leaders faced.
Many people continue to lobby that guns are the answer to their protection, so they feel we should have armed guards in our schools, every person should keep them in their homes and they should be available to any person if they need to purchase it. Come on people, we need to get out of this archaic mindset and look at the underlining issue. I don’t mean to be too preachy, but education is the key to our success; not violence! The leaders of our countries, communities, churches, coaches and parents need to make it a point to continue teaching our youth and adults alike that there is a better way to treat each other. Yes, I agree that no matter how hard we try to instill these values there will be some that will try to ignore these teachings. However, we cannot just give up and allow guns or any other tool to be used as a crutch to harm another.
I was impressed to hear the host of G97 this morning listen to a caller that was all for the comments made by the chairman, then politely clear up an assumption that was made by the caller. They tried to reduce it to a white/black issue with the statements about Martin Luther King Jr. with comments like the chairman is right and must be black with his thoughts on the prevention of slavery. Once the caller was done stating his views the host nicely advised that the chairman was not black and the CNN host was not white. PEOPLE, this is an issue that extends to all of humankind. Violence is not the answer!
“Violence begets violence that leads to the grave!” ~ Tommy Strong; from an episode of Martin
This is 2013 and I want us all to focus on not the fear of being hurt by someone else, but our own personal joy.
“We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence.” – Martin Luther King Jr.; excerpt from the famous I Have a Dream Speech.
With Christmas only being a few days away, several people are packing the malls to stressfully finish their last minute shopping. However, regardless if you celebrate Christmas or not we all need to take some time this season to stop the hustle and bustle and spend it with our family and friends. Life is short and we all need to show the people around us that we need their love and support to nourish our souls and gain momentum for the upcoming New Year. There are several people today that are wishing they had the opportunity to talk, hug and laugh one last time with someone that has passed away. We need to make a conscious effort this Christmas season to make it known to those in our lives that no matter how busy life gets, we truly appreciate everything they do to make our lives complete.
As we all know, one week ago today many hearts around the world were broken by the events that transpired at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where several little children and staff were murdered. The painful events brought many around world together and parents of the survivors or those far away from the school hugged their children with a little more meaning that day, because the thought of losing your child is unthinkable. No matter if you are a parent, uncle, aunt, cousin or just a concerned human being, several of us felt a knot in our stomachs when the news hit of this tragedy.
Imagining the emotions that these parents must be going through since their little babies were viciously taken from them can only truly be understood by them. Most likely they have presents under their trees from Santa that they were excited to see unwrapped, however because of this horrendous crime their hopes and dreams of watching their children unwrap those presents and furthermore grow up was taken from them. Ever since the shootings, the public has shown their solidarity by making their way to the community, protesting at the NRA and countless sporting events, concerts and television shows have illustrated their support by having a moment of silence for the victims. We all know that this cannot take away the grief that those closely effected are feeling; however we want them to know that the world is here to provide a shoulder to lean on when they are ready.
When the news hit I was at my desk and heard the murmurs about it, but when I saw the official report myself I was completely hurt that these events can actually happen in our schools. Listen I am not naive about tragic events happening in places that we traditionally feel are safe. In my city this past summer, the Eaton Centre had a shooting in broad daylight and there was a local barbeque get together that ended in a shooting where young people died and several were injured. Not to mention Columbine where another school was gunned down several years ago or those who went to watch the opening of the latest Batman movie and instead where fleeing for their lives. This latest shooting has sparked several conversations with friends and family where we have discussed our displeasure, but unfortunately these discussions will never bring back the lives of those little kids and staff at the school or the grief that emptiness that their families will feel.
Life is very precious and we all need to ensure that each day we live our lives to its fullest and spread joy to everyone in our inner circles, immediate families and help anyone that might need a helping hand to rise out of depression, anger or any stressful situation.
Once again my plea today is to ask everyone that is reading my latest blog entry to give their loved ones an extra long squeeze when hugging them, listen to a story from your elders about the olden days, play with your kids outside or inside, be an ear for someone that needs to vent and just show those that are important to you that you love them.
Regardless if you do not believe in the religious aspect of Christmas, we need to at least reach out to our loved ones both near and far by any form of communication to let them know they are in our prayers and/or thoughts.
I want to finish this piece by saying Rest in Peace to those killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings.
How furious would you be if your employer came to you one day and told you that the benefits you negotiated at the time of your employment were no longer afforded to you and your colleagues? Better yet, imagine how much your blood would boil if they told you that your right to fight this decision was taken away as well. Finally, think about the extra hours that you put in that are not appreciated, but you understand the importance of putting in the extra hours to make the company and/or your clients more successful.
Now that I got your attention, if reading this has got you thinking that someone must have lost their mind if they tried to pull this crap at your job, then maybe we should collectively be more supportive of the teachers in Ontario. Without teachers helping us all along the way, we might not have accomplished the successes we have been blessed to achieve. Think about that teacher that stayed after school with you to help you figure out a mathematical formula, coached your school basketball team or came in early to meet with your parents to help with your development or guidance. The time that they put in at all levels of education should be rewarded, but instead their profession has been diminished to the fact that they get off before 5 o’clock and have the summers off.
Without going into great detail of Ontario’s Bill 115 the teachers are losing several benefits that were previously negotiated in past contracts, and there have been several people in society weighing in on the topic. For example, today in the lunchroom at work I heard a few of my colleagues saying that their tax dollars are being paid to have teacher’s teach, so too bad so sad for them. They went on to say that they wish they could be off at 3:30 pm and have the luxury of all the holidays they get.
Hold up, wait a minute! If you are thinking that all that goes into teaching is the above then you really are mistaken and should re-assess the hard work that our teachers put in. I personally am not a teacher, however I see firsthand every day the hard work and care that goes into a teacher’s preparation and sacrifice for their students by watching my wife, who is a teacher.
The teaching profession is not as simple as just writing on the chalkboard and hoping for the best for their students. Teachers are responsible for helping their students understand the material, protecting their students and truly attempting to make students succeed in whatever profession their hearts desire. In order for teachers to make this happen they are always trying to find creative ways to help each student learn and become better throughout the year. This is accomplished by bringing work home to mark, countless hours making tests, quizzes and assignments that focus on the topics that are being taught at any given time. Also, fielding questions from parents by email, requested meetings, interviews and of course the report card that needs to reflect the progress of each student.
Outside of the basic function of teaching, teachers need to be quick on their feet if something happens during yard duty, further the teachings of manners at all levels of education and encourage students to be well rounded by recognizing talents that their students might be too shy or scared to tap into within the school and beyond.
Teachers in my view point need to wear several hats as managers, social workers, nurses, police officers, consultants, engineers (science projects), artists, etc. Our teachers need to be truly appreciated and not treated like they are a second class profession, because we all have benefited from at least one teacher in our lives. For me it was my grade 2 teacher Ms. Veigh that turned me around from this shy kid to my outspoken self today by showing how much she cared about my continued success.
At the end of the day we all have freedom of speech and can be very opinionative about world issues; however before you minimize someone’s profession, please ensure you know all the facts beforehand. I have only slightly scratched the surface of the hard work that those who entered the teaching profession do on a daily basis, so let us all stand together and support our teachers!
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”
~ Eleanor Roosevelt
Life is full of risks and it is up to us to decipher what we want to conquer in our lifetime, but there are several roadblocks that usually stand in our way of pushing the inner voice away that tells us to avoid anything outside of our personal comfort zone. This major hurdle in our lives usually is the fear within ourselves that is important to consult for every decision; in order to truly understand the consequences from actions we make on a daily basis. It is a known saying not to judge a book by its cover, because no matter how confident, outspoken or daring someone might look, they are just like the rest of us and have been scared at some point in their life. There are several degrees of fear that might be laughable to most, but something that might make others cringe at the thought of it. For example, one of the most common fears among children is the dark, a lot of us were not afraid ever, but others to this day suffer from it during adulthood. I know you are sitting here reading this and saying what grown folk is scared of the dark? Or had a chuckle at the expense of these people that are possibly reading the same thing nodding in agreement. Just remember you might have something that makes you feel childish about that those same individuals do without a second thought. My intentions here are to showcase that we all have mental road blocks in our lives that we all fight constantly with that have the potential to hold us back in life.
I won’t go for that promotion at work, because there is no chance I will get it. I’m not going to try and holla at that girl/boy, because they out of my league. Why even bother I know the answer no!
Fear is a dangerous beast and if we allow it to consume us who knows what experiences or life journeys we will be leaving in the dust. Hey I am not saying to live your life all willy nilly and don’t consider consequences, but try your best to live your life with no regrets and that you lived it to its fullest.
I can hear some of you reading this knowing that I like to reflect on personal experiences in my blog entries and wondering where this topic is coming from for me. Listen I am not to manly to admit that a fear that I have is the fear of falling. Don’t get me wrong your boy loves to see beautiful scenery from high vantage points, yet my legs get really shaky if I go near the edge! All I can envision is plummeting to my death. I know very morbid… but it is what it is! I have found myself on many occasions staying as far away from an edge, while others marvel at the beauty below while being all the way in God’s sky.
I must admit that I was very proud of myself recently on my honeymoon I had a personal victory, where I looked fear in the eye and just faced it. I was in Hawaii and I said, man if you every going to impress yourself with looking at the fear of falling in the eye, here is your chance in this gorgeous place. Listen up…I went cliff diving; I jumped off a 25 foot cliff on the top of a waterfall. Minutes before doing it this guy who was on my tour asked me if I was going to attempt it and I looked at him and let him know that I ain’t about that life! His fear was consuming him as well and all he needed to conquer it, yet he needed another guy to go with him. Then we both look up on the top and this 5 and 10 year old are flying off the top like they are on the Olympic diving team… If they can do it then I can do it! At least I hoped. It made me think back to grade 4 when we went swimming with the entire class and I was nervous to jump off the diving board until I saw the smallest and shyest girl in the class go up fearless and dive. Up I went back then and cannon balled my way down (Thanks Tracey if you’re reading this). Flash forward 20 plus years and I found myself in the same predicament, but this time I was not jumping into the public pool at 6 feet off the diving board. Let me tell you that plenty thoughts rolled in my head as I got to the edge, my legs were shaking like I was doing the gangnam style and my heart was beating like I was Questlove of the Roots. After getting mentally prepared I looked to my wife who was getting ready to take my Kodak moment and off I went…splash!!! By the way I had to do it two more times as our camera was acting up…not easier the second and third times!
Although I made my giant leap and got closer to conquering my fear, by no stretch of the imagination am I not afraid of falling. However, on that day in Hawaii I can say that an experience of a lifetime was had by me, because I did not let fear hold me back. So, no matter what if you have a dream, aspiration or just want to try something (legally) try to muster up your strength and turn on your swag to make it happen. Look at me it has been over a month and I am still proud of my moment on that waterfall!
“You miss 100 percent of the shots that you do not take!”
~ Wayne Gretzky
Close your eyes and imagine someone not being able to walk up a flight of stairs and having severe difficulty to breathe. Think about countless visits to draw blood and check for remission or progress. Even further think about arriving at the hospital and needing to sit down in the waiting room for half an hour before building up the strength to speak to someone. I want you to walk over to the nearest mirror and look at yourself, because although most of you might have envisioned the elderly going through these heartaches, it really could happen to any of us!
It happened to me when I was 29 years old and before the doctor made it really real I acted like the typical male thinking my symptoms would blow over eventually. I diagnosed myself with asthma that went away when I was 10 years old. Instead of listening to my family I took to the pages of the internet and found symptoms that in my head made the most sense and disregarded the severity of my condition. The first time that I knew I was not right was walking up one flight of stairs at work and feeling like I just ran a triathlon. I literally could not talk and just wanted to lie down, take short breaths and drink water. Did I tell a soul? Nope! At the time I was not in the greatest shape but damn I had not fallen off that much. For the next few weeks I had more bad days then good; however I must have just been coming down with something, so I thought. My sister’s wedding was coming up and I was determined to feel better, because I was a groomsmen and I had to make a speech. I made my way to the walk-in doctor and told them of how I was feeling; they gave me a puffer and told me if I don’t feel better in a week to come back. My sister’s wedding was a success and I was able to survive the entire day without feeling any of my symptoms (for the most part). Unfortunately for me it was the adrenaline that kept me standing, because a few days later I was admitted in the Critical Care Unit of the hospital.
The fear that overcame me when several of the medical staff rushed me into the emergency room and told me that I was lucky that I decided to come in that day. Pretty much they told me that my stubbornness of postponing a thorough check up almost cost me my life. One of my mom’s quirky sayings is that it is better to be a live chicken than a dead hero! At that time I was wondering why I was trying to be a hero. After detailed tests and signing consent forms that stated the procedures they were about to perform may cause death, I was told that I had developed two large blood clots that traveled from my leg and broke off in both my lungs. With that said, they told me that I would not be going home for awhile, because they needed to keep a keen eye on me through the nights. They fitted me with an oxygen mask, IV was inserted in my veins and they rolled me up the CCU. I will say that it was the worst night of my life (or so I thought) as I received frequent visits during the night to see if I was okay and trying to sleep while the oxygen machine is working was not going to happen. Although I survived the night it was the following night that really was the worst, that evening the neighbouring patient passed away. Hearing code blue and having my curtain pulled was pretty damn freaky, and then all night I had to hear crying and chanting from his people as a ritual to send him off peacefully. As visiting hours were concluding my mother and girlfriend (fiancée now) could see the fear in my eyes and wanted to stay with me, but I just had to man up and not let them have to deal with that ordeal no matter how much they requested.
After about a week of eating jello and hospital food (Yes it is gross!) and missing Thanksgiving at home, I felt like a prisoner released from jail and put on house arrest. I really did not get to leave my house other than for doctor appointments for the next 2 weeks and was put on pills on pills on pills (thought I was a pharmacy). After a year of going to the hospital every Monday morning to get my blood level checked and getting called around 3 p.m. the same day for my results, I was finally cleared of the blood clots.
I remember feeling so grateful to be cleared of them and realized that I was one of the lucky ones to make it out of the CCU. I heard several things that made that period in my life really real, like the emergency nurse saying “oh shit” when she saw my oxygen level to a nurse telling me that I would never be able to be in a plane again. I received an overwhelming amount of support from my friends and family and even though they tried to perk me up I could see the concern on all their faces. They kept coming back and would try to keep my spirits up and for that I will be more thankful than they will ever know. To Kate you have always been my rock and I know that even to this day you worry about me. We were only dating for 7 months at the time, but you demonstrated a level of love that I never knew existed. I will save the rest for my vows!
All in all, I want to tell everyone out there that is reading this entry to never be too cool to go to the doctor. I thought I was the man and nothing could ever faze me, yet I almost passed away from pure stupidity. I was struggling to breathe and was like it will pass, I’m fine! Gentlemen, I am speaking specifically to you, go for yearly check-ups and listen to your body when something feels off. When we hear a noise with our vehicles we do everything to repair it, why not do the same when it comes to our health? Google is great to find out information about different topics, but it should never substitute your doctor.
I’m very thankful for every breath I take now more than ever before, I know that I have more life to live and many things to accomplish. I will do everything in my power to stay healthy, so that I can travel to different places and live my blessing of life to the fullest. It’s been almost 3 years now since I had my scare with death and let me tell you I am not trying to go anywhere near death’s door again for a long long time! Just in case you never heard me I said a long long …long time! You only live once…YOLO!
After countless hours of planning the perfect way to propose to your girlfriend and picking out the ring that she will flaunt on her finger forever, the time arrives to ask her to be your main squeeze (wife) forever. No matter how certain you are that she is going to say “YES”, it is kind of hard to avoid your heart from breaking dancing in your chest…Parupa Pum Pum!!! Hopefully she sees eye-to-eye with you and accepts your proposal, so that your adrenaline can calm down and the celebration can begin! The one problem that I have seen while planning my own upcoming nuptials is that there seems to be a lot of grooms-to-be that feel the proposal is the end of their responsibilities. I wish that you could rub a magic and lamp and boom a magic genie appears and sets everything up, so that both the Mrs. and I just have to show up, get hitched and party! I have learned that a whole heap of tings (a lot of things) have to be done before the actually big day. I know those who actually put in work with their ladies understand what I’m saying! For those that are new to the planning game or are about to pop the question, make sure you do it all and make it fun. Here are some of my observations where I cannot believe guys have not put in their input for their wedding day:
A few months ago we went to the local department store to start our gift registry and I was floored to see how many brides were there alone, with a friend or their parents. Their men were M.I.A. Guys, guys, guys are you telling me you think it is not your place to pick items that will be in your household? Picking plates is so girly? I hear you muttering…he went and picked sheets and plates and frilly thing…LOL. “PAUSE”! Riddle me this, you have a guys night at home watching the big game and someone asks for a glass, then you reach in cupboard and all there is to offer is pink flowery cups. Wish you made the trip now? Venue: I will admit I never was the guy that pictured what my wedding day was going to look like, but there is no way that I would let the Mrs. pick out the venue and just tell me about it afterwards. I would look her deep in her eyes with a sideways look and ask her if she went coo coo for cocoa puffs! Ever since I have became engaged I have heard stories of dudes who gave complete control over the day and where it will be held. Seriously? Really? Is it a case of laziness or just plan….no laziness! This is probably the most important decision, as this is where you figure out dates and so many other things. What if she came home and paid for a deposit at Chuck-E-Cheese? You want your first dance in the ball pit?
Personally I am Mr. Traditional so I don’t want to hear a word about her dress, but I stopped getting dressed by someone else in like kindergarten. With that said when it came to deciding on my gear and that of the groomsmen, I saddled up and took charge. Of course, you need input but the final decision on how comfortable you feel on the big day has to be majority up to you with compromise. I say that with hesitation as some men might say they feel most comfy in a mesh marina, flip flops and their draws. It’s your wedding day, so stop the foolishness! Add elements that show your personality!
I know that there are some guys out there that are green thumbs and know about every single flower that grows. I am not that guy! However, speak up for yourself as there must be some look you want or don’t want. I gave the Mrs. free reign on the selection of the flowers and just told her I want to stay “fresh to death” and not have too girly of a flower. We worked together and boomshakalaka your boy will have good looking flower on my jacket if I say so myself. Don’t ask me what type of flower it is…I just know it looks magnificent!
The first thing you will hear from people that have already jumped the broom is to enjoy the day, but you probably will not have time to eat. If this is actually true the only time I will be able to sit down and savor the food is during the tasting. I know I got my backside to the venue and tasted the food that will be served and let me tell you my belly was blessed that day. Once again looking around the room, there were several people in the restaurant, but again my fellow grooms were very sparse. Gents, make sure you don’t complain about the food if you decided to be a no-show!
I am happy that my bride and I share similar tastes in music, but this is so essential that I could not imagine missing the DJ or music selection meeting(s). Think about all the different times you require music to be played at your wedding (Processional, recessional, entrances, first dances, bouquet toss, garter toss, party time, etc.). Guys if you don’t care about any other element of your wedding, at least focus on the music. I know I plan to drop some serious foot at my wedding (dance the night away), so I had to make sure the DJ know what vibe we were looking for the night. I want everyone to enjoy the night and even if they can’t dance, they will at least wiggle their toes.
All in all, future grooms I know the stresses you faced planning the proposal. I know all about the pushy sales people, finding a hiding spot for the ring, keeping your sudden brokenness a secret and the big talk with her folks! However, you got to do all the DIY projects and plan the little details as well for the big day. Remember how much you studied and practiced to get your driver’s license? Remember how sweet you felt when you finally got it? Well my final words to you gents is that if you put in as much effort for your wedding…the outcome will make feel so nice like a sugar and a spice!