The Secret

"You were my secret hero."

I stood in the grocery store, reading a magazine article in the check out line. Tears threatened to roll down my face. Had I not closed the page, the article surely would have turned me into a blubbering mess.

I've hit that stage in my life.

I'm acutely aware of the people in my world...and exactly how much they mean to me. Each one, in their own special way...has left an indelible footprint.

And I am forever grateful.

Perhaps it's because I never expected to live this long.

For reasons I can't quite explain...I never expected to live past 25. As the days mounted and the birthdays followed suit, you can imagine my surprise when I hit 30!

Somewhere between 25 and 30, with my self-fulfilling prophecy failing...I realized that if I was going to be on this planet, I better get my $%#& together. And since I never expected to live even this, I live like I'm on borrowed time (just in case the prophecy had a margin of error).

Like weeding through your closets before moving day, I laid out the elements of my life before me...and started cleaning house. That longtime relationship that was broken beyond repair? It quickly went in the junk pile. Dysfunctional job? Gone. The friend who languished in the corner with the occasional coffee dates...the one who thought I was fabulous and gave me the biggest hugs? I finally realized its value. That got elevated status...and was enrobed with my best bubble wrap.

While I divvied up my past into heaping piles of treasure and trash...I was overcome by what laid before me. I hate to acknowledge it, but the trash pile was HUGE!

Echoing in the distance, I could hear, "Yes, Traca. This, this is YOUR LIFE."

I know.
After cleaning house, it's not uncommon to think, "How did I accumulate so much junk?" The question was especially difficult when I had to admit...yes, this IS my life.
Frankly, I needed a garage sale...ASAP!

Without dwelling too much on why my life was in that state, instead, I focused repairing things. And I was determined to build up the treasure pile.

Over the past few years, I'm happy to say that the treasure pile has grown significantly. Luckily, I now find myself surrounded by a slew of people I respect and admire. In fact, these treasure pile makes Mount Everest look like a speed bump!

And the trash pile? After all the time and effort it took to remove that pile of junk, I keep a vigilant watch. Life is short, and I simply don't have time for junk anymore.

"You were my secret hero."

Standing in the grocery store, I was moved beyond belief...reading a story about a girl who had died. Post-mortem, her friends finally acknowledged how much she meant to them.

Reading that article, I realized:

1) I've built myself a fantastic life (disregard any opinions held by financial planners)

2) More importantly....I never want to say that about my friends.

My thought is this: I want the people in my life to know how much I love them...without a shaddow of a doubt. Cards, letters, voicemails, care packages, and plain ole' face-to-face, I make a habit of saying, "I love you." It's a small gesture, but in the end, hopefully it will make a difference.
Folks, there are secrets you keep...and others you don't. If you love someone, let them know.

Moments of regret come all too easily...