It’s Christmas Eve and at least for me it’s a great day to do some reflection on the past year and what this season means. Ever since I was a kid, Christmas time has always been my favorite time of year, and I’m sure that’s true for quite a few people in this world. Since my birthday and Christmas are literally the same day I sometime feel like I have to cram as many things as I can into the season and that one day. Sometimes I even tricked myself into thinking that I was happiest at this time of year – and yes as a child I probably was. Who wouldn’t be with all of the awe and wonder of the season about them and the abundance of gifts (ESP for me all on one day).  

As I aged though I realized that all of those things truly didn’t equate to happiness. This year 4 important people who came through my life – left this world for another place. One of them was only around for a short time, yet he left a definitive mark on my life and others and sadly left his world by his own hand. Another I had know for 36 years, we had many ups and also some downs. He had a way of making everything around him ‘beautiful’. Sadly we had lost touch due to some of the ridiculous BS that happens in our lives. He moved on because as I understand it he had lost his will to live and stopped taking his medications and caring about life. Yet another put up a courageous fight with cancer not one but three times and in the end left this world peacefully and in so doing left a wife, daughter, son and countless others whose lives he touched to be inspired by his love and humor and carry them on. The female of the group had the most significant impact on not only my life but many others. She believed in me at a time when others were closing doors in my face, took me under her wing and allowed me to birth a movement for the professional Pilates community.

I look back on my personal experience with these individuals and of course think – why didn’t I call more often, why didn’t I tell them that I cared about them deeply, why, why why? This of course is quite a typical response for many of us, it’s understandable, it’s human, it’s life.  

Now it’s time for me to take that regret and turn it into something else before I am confronted with any more regret. Harvard just released a study 75 years in the making on what men need to live a happy life. George Valliant who directed the study summed it up in his own words, the #1 most important finding from the Grant Study is this: “The seventy-five years and twenty million dollars expended on the Grant Study points to a straightforward five-word conclusion: Happiness is love.  Full stop.” 

So my wish for all of you and myself at this special time of year is LOVE. To be able to give it, receive it and nurture it on a regular basis – Merry Christmas!