Have you ever heard the saying that you don’t really know what you have until it’s gone? I feel like I’ve got a big smack in the face of that just this last year. But instead of dwelling on how much I’ve lost, I took it as an opportunity to look at what I’ve gained.

Since losing my oldest brother, the one I shared all my childhood memories with and grew up with and then getting dumped by my boyfriend of almost 4 years, not to mention the turmoil my family had to go through while we all went through our stages of grief, my eyes have been ultimately opened.

I started the year out still trying to make it as an entrepreneur but it just wasn’t working out for me, not to mention my lack of motivation after everything happened and my hiatus from all forms of social media. I was without a steady job until late June, living at home, napping most of the day away, with no idea of what I wanted to do next. I felt like a lost cause, sad, broken, confused, and helpless.

That act got old real quick. I was tired of feeling sorry for myself. I was tired of singling myself out, as if I’m the only person in the world who had ever lost their brother, as if I’m the only person who had ever gotten dumped, as if I’m the only person who had to struggle in life period. I decided to make the best of the crappy situation I had been handed and turned my shit around real quick. I will not play victim to this life. I will die knowing that I’ve done everything humanly possible to fulfill all my wants, desires and dreams!

So all this detrimental loss of 2021 had only fueled me to want to do and be better. I see life from a whole different perspective now. Since Manny (my brother), some things that used to bother the life out of me just seem so trivial and shallow now. I’ve learned to truly appreciate each and every small, tiny moment with my family and those that I love most. I’ve learned that no matter how hard you try or want, those people not meant for you will not stick around. I’ve learned to just take a damn chance on yourself because you might not wake up tomorrow and I don’t want any regrets when it’s my time to return home. I’ve learned that life is more than just the basics of love & hate, happiness or sadness, rich or poor, it’s about everything in between and the ups and downs that come along with it all.

It’s time we all appreciate everything we have in our lives and the world around us. When was the last time you watched a sunrise or a sunset? When was the last time you went out for a long aimless drive at midnight with your best friend, just screaming your favorite songs together and cherishing every minute? When was the last time you went out and parked to just stare at the stars? When was the last time you looked at a loved one and just flashed back to every great and amazing memory you’ve had with them and feel an immense surge of love for that person? When was the last time you were with someone that felt so much like home that you could just cry tears of joy? LIKE COME ON!! If you haven’t done something that makes your heart feel warm and gives your stomach butterflies, can you really say you’re living? LIKE REALLY LIVING! Luckily, for me, all of the above has been done more than once in just this last week!

I will never let another minute go by without appreciating everything it has to offer. We are never guaranteed a tomorrow, I learned that the hard way. I see life so differently now and it’s all because of Manny. I have so much to thank him for, I have a life worth living because of him. He is always my motivator, my inspiration to keep living a life full of wonder. Life isn’t all butterflies and rainbow kisses, but I’ll be damned if I don’t appreciate everything it throws my way. I will dedicate myself to myself and make sure I die with no regrets on what I would’ve, could’ve or should’ve done differently.

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