The Last Time

I used to sell home alarm systems in the early 2000’s when I called Columbus, Ohio my home. It involved an ungodly amount of travel throughout the state, traveling up to 200 miles per day. My boss was overly caffeinated and always bright red in the face A portly fellow who had just moved to Ohio from Missouri. He always seemed mere minutes away from a heart attack. His pep talks were meant to inspire, but usually just revolved around how we could all be like him if we just tried to sell, sell, sell! He drove a rusted, beat up late 80s Chevy Caprice and treated his wife like a servant. No one wanted to be like him.

From time to time, I would get lucky and have an appointment in Mansfield or Marion where my family lived. This would allow me to have some downtime, grab a bite or just relax in between appointments. This is probably the only reason that I stayed with the job as long as I did as I barely broke even each month. It also allowed me the freedom to be by myself all day, stopping in for drinks across the state of Ohio. I would find the dirtiest, dive-iest looking bar in whatever tiny town I was in and order a beer and a shot. Not the best idea while driving, I’m well aware.

Perhaps my biggest regret in life happened during this time period: I had an appointment in Marion, Ohio, where I was born and where my grandparents still lived. It was early evening and I wanted to get back to Columbus to meet some friends at the local bar. No special occasion whatsoever, just drinking. I never needed a special occasion to drink, anyway. I had a tug at my heart to stop by and see my grandparents, especially my grandpa who was seriously ill and had been in and out of the hospital. I decided to call instead. I proceeded to lie and tell them that I had another appointment in Columbus, that I was in a big rush to get back. I told my grandpa that I would stop by next time. The next time never came. My grandfather passed away the next morning in my grandmother’s arms. I’ve shed an ocean’s worth of regretful tears over that single decision.

I never want to shed those kind of tears again.

We never know when it’s the last time until it never happens again. 

– when it’s the last time you have the chance to see someone before they pass

– When it’s the last time you’ll have the chance to go on that trip you’ve been dreaming of

– When it’s the last time you’ll have to stop drinking

– When it’s the last time your mom or dad will call you to check in

– When it’s the last time your pet wants to cuddle

– When it’s the last time your best friend will be there to give you a pep talk

– When it’s the last time your entire family is together for the holidays

– when it’s the last time your child will want you to read them a bedtime story

Isn’t it true that in the end, those seemingly meaningless moments are the ones most sacred? What seem like everyday annoyances, like your child screaming or yet another phone call from that friend who just needs to talk. These moments make up the blood in our veins and the blue sky above when we are stuck in the scorching, dry desert of our uncompromising subconscious. To appreciate these things is to love ourselves. To be grateful for all these things brings us closer to being part of the whole. To be awake and aware that these moments mean everything is, in my opinion, to live life to the fullest.

A life with no time for regret.

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Christopher Hostetler is the founder of Do Not Die Young – Integrative Health & Nutrition Coaching. He’s a proud father, gunshot survivor, musician, writer and Muay Thai enthusiast residing in Los Angeles. He has made self evolution through nutrition, lifestyle, and mental and physical wellness his life’s work.

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