Today: Jun 18, 2024

Take time to appreciate before it is too late


With the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 right around the corner, it is impossible not to think about the amount of boys I grew up with who are now men in the military. Specifically, one guy I’ve known since I was 8 years old, who is now in the navy. We dated in high school and were each others’ first love. Even after breaking up, we remained friends; he was like an older brother to my sister. Yet when I saw him at his house two weeks before he was being deported this past July, I sprayed him with the garden hose and left because I could not say goodbye.

I find it ironic that I am horrible with words, even though I identify myself as a writer. I have a tendency to talk without thinking about what I am actually saying, and yet I found myself quiet in front of him. How do you say goodbye to someone you’ve known over half of your life, who you knew when he was into Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokemon? How do you say goodbye to the one male who has defended you when someone was making completely false and inappropriate claims about you? Somehow I highly doubt a garden hose is the answer.

If I could turn back time, if I could find a way. OK, enough with the Cher song in my head. However, if I could do it over again, I would in a heartbeat. There has not been a single day that has gone by without me thinking about him. I’ll be honest: I feel guilty. Of all the things I’ve learned, I never learned how to say goodbye. I could not even build up the strength to tell him he means the world to me.

If I had the chance to redo my goodbye, I would have hugged him so tightly that neither of us could breathe. I would have thanked him for always making me laugh, even if I was not having the best day. I would have thanked him for always being there for me, even after all these years. Unfortunately, in reality I have to wait until he returns so I can tell him how much I love him, even if he does pick on my height. 

Seeing that this has been bothering me for months, it has made me realize how much is not said. Rather than complaining and backstabbing each other, why don’t more people appreciate others? Yes, it can be hard sometimes to love a relative who should be in the psych ward or circus, but at the end of the day they’re still family (although sometimes I’m convinced I’m adopted). The same can be true for friends as well. It is also so easy to get wrapped up in school or work that we take for granted the people in our lives. But now is the time for that wake-up call.

Even if you don’t know someone being deployed, it really is important to tell those you care about how much they mean to you. After all, anything can happen at any time. There’s no such thing as hugging too closely or too long. If you really mean it, look the person in the eyes and say “I love you.” Appreciate every second you spend with someone, whether you’re sitting in a car for hours talking about life or at an amusement park. Don’t be afraid to tell the people in your life how much you love them for who they are. You can have a million other friends, but one friend can never fully replace another, and that’s a fact.

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