Stop what you are doing and read this.

This New Years, put down your mobile, computer, and TV remote. Pull your head out of your book or homework or work, just for a moment. Look around you. If I’m lucky, right this second there are people surrounding you — loved ones you hold close to your heart. There are living, breathing family and friends sitting near you right now. They will not be there forever. There will come a day that you wish you could give them one last hug. It’s life.

So put down your devices, put down your worksheets, and put down your distractions. Look at the people in the room with you. Really look at them. Notice their eyes, notice their wrinkles. Watch them while they laugh at a bad joke. Take it all in and appreciate them right then and there. Then get up and walk over to them and have a conversation. Listen. Laugh. Hug them if you feel it’s appropriate. Tell them how much they mean to you. Hold their hand. Just be with them.

If I was not as lucky and you are alone right now, pick up your phone again and dial whoever you are missing right now. It’s cliché, but you do only live once. There will be a time when you’ll wish you’d just caught up with someone and had a good time rather than sitting at home. You have all of retirement to spend relaxing. You need to make the most of everyone you love. Go beyond expectations. Buy them things randomly. Hand-make cards. Show your love willingly and openly.

This is my goal for you guys this time of year: Celebrate everyone’s existence. It is a rare thing to be with someone you well and truly love, even if it’s not in a romantic way. My grandfather passed away five days before Christmas this year, and if there’s one thing I want right now, it’s one last hug. Do that while you have the chance. Nothing is stopping you. It’s better to put yourself out there than regret hiding in the shadows. Love is beautiful — but especially when you show it. This challenge is simply working on becoming one step closer to being truly happy.


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