Sunday, June 15, 2008

Every minute of every day

I never met Tim Russert.

But, through the familiar nature of television, I felt like I knew him. Spent an hour with him some Sunday mornings during "Meet the Press" and would often catch his weekend show on CNBC/MSNBC because he could carry on a conversation. He was a fixture every four years in November, too, writing the electoral results on his white dry erase board.

He seemed like such a nice guy, the kind you'd like to have a beer and a chat with at the baseball game, full of child-like enthusiasm for politics, history, sports, family, friends, rock-and-roll and all things Buffalo, New York.

I can't tell you that I cried when he died. I can't tell you I felt devastated. Those feelings should be left where they belong -- with his family and friends.

But what Tim Russert's death at 58 means to me is that it is yet another tragic reminder that tomorrow isn't guaranteed. We owe it to ourselves, to our family, to our community, to our country, to live -- truly live -- every minute of every day.

Oh, that doesn't mean you live with reckless abandon. You save, you plan ahead, you do what you can to make a better future.

But you grab the day and seize it, live life to the fullest, carpe diem and all that jazz. Today's the day to call somebody up and tell them you love them. Today's the day to spend a few hours with your dad. Today's the day to go sit with a sick friend, pick up trash in the neighborhood, go see if your elderly neighbor needs anything.

Today, too, is the day to laugh too loud, love too much, sing too often, play too hard. Today is the day to give your all to the things you love.

Life is way too short to hang around people that bring you down. If this journey has taught me anything, it's that a true friend, a true love, a true human being, lifts you up -- always and forever -- to help you become the best you can be. Ninety percent of the drama we bring into our lives is our own fault -- often through our own poor choices.

For God's sake, don't waste your time with people who simply aren't worth it.

And, to be blunt with you, life's too short to give up on your dreams just because the road gets rough. I get down sometimes because of my misadventures in affairs of the heart. But, you know, a week or so ago, for the first time in many many moons, I caught a glimpse of what people keep telling me doesn't exist. And right then and there I realized that all the empty nights and broken promises and busted dates will one day be worth it. I believe that with all of my heart.

Best I can tell, Tim Russert never forgot from whence he came. He was always and forever Big Russ's son from Buffalo, proud papa, loving husband, good friend.

His life, and his sudden, shocking death, should serve as a wake up call to all of us that our time isn't tomorrow, a week from now, or next year.

Our time is now.

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