Love, Give, Learn, part 2. A summary of 2014

Some years are more special than others. Some years are ones you can’t wait to forget. On my deathbed, which I now can feel better about not happening anytime soon (fingers crossed), I will remember 2014.

2014 was the year of the horse on the Chinese calendar. And quite frankly, I rode this year like a horse. In fact, I feel like I won the triple crown. Twice.

Life opens doors every day for each of us. Whether we see them is one thing. Taking the step and walking through them is another matter entirely. But how magical it is when the eyes open and lock onto a life of “how I want it to be,” rather than “how I wish it could be.”

If I were to name three things that can destroy some good years, it would be excuses/rationalizations, worrying about other people’s problems, and jail time, because all three kill your chance of living the life you really want. It is probably a good idea to stay away from them. You can sabotage others as well, especially as parents and teachers. Careful how we tread.

2015 should be a year of priorities. The right ones. I will not let myself sound “overly-bitchy” or “whiny” as I lay dying on the street after being hit by a school bus full of kids, quietly telling each of them that I did it wrong. That I lived incorrectly. That…

“…I had it backwards and upside down kids. Listen to me. Lucy! Look at me! I know my leg is over there on the curb and my stomach is in my hand, but please listen. Getting your 401K as high as possible is a good idea. But that is all. Please don’t make it a priority.”

Priorities in your life should be what you want them to be. If it is family or some god, great. As long as you aren’t hurting other people, go for it. If it is caring for the elderly or the poor, good on you. If it is traveling the world or following dreams, there you go. But please. Don’t tell me vacuuming or washing your car once a week is a priority. You may become part of the soap mix once you die and rot into the earth, but I guarantee you will wish that you had loved more or learned more or gave more when it is too late. And this: Damn it. Maybe I shouldn’t have told my friends or family “no” so often, mostly because I had to keep my 1967 convertible clean and my manager happy by being there on weekends. Yea. Maybe that order is backwards.

“Only you can prevent forest fires.” “Me?” I used to reply as a ten year old, looking around for older and surely more responsible people who could do that. “I was just watching cartoons, trying to eat my Sugar Crisp. But if you say so.”


But twist it just a bit, and you get a great motto for life. Only you can prevent the life you want. 

You are your only daily steward of happiness. Expecting others to make you happy sounds ridiculous. Go ahead. Re-read the line out loud and tell me it doesn’t make you embarrassed. You keep waiting for happiness or the ‘big break’ like you did a 4% raise you prayed for before every dinner and bedtime. Me? I am going to go get it myself. And for the record, you can be a steward to others’ happiness. (They just shouldn’t rely on it from you and others).

I lived this way in 2014. And it was one of the best.

2014 was so important for me, in fact, that I am sharing it here with you. That should say something. I stepped through the doors. I dropped shame and embarrassment and insecurity as reasons for not living my way, and I told myself I was less of a human being for thinking it. So, I won’t let myself get there again. I rose from the almost dead in 2014 to a new place of reaching back out to old friends I should never have lost touch with and took chances with new friends. That seems simple, but I was pretty good at removing myself from others’ worlds.

So, well, I guess what I am trying to say is: Hey 2015. Fuck you. Yea you. I’m looking right at ya. You keep the time. That is all. I will fill the time. You don’t tell me what to do. I tell you when and where. I tell you how it is going to be. And if you win some days, fine, so be it. But I am coming back tomorrow. And the next day. And I will make the most of it. And if I happen to lose the ultimate battle in this coming year, so be it, I still lived everyday the right way and to the fullest. I didn’t feel bad for not being with my kids more or helping others more or telling people what they mean to me NOW.

I will do it again by maintaining my priorities. They get reordered so easily. Mine are simple:

1. Love-  Make me, and everyone around me within reach, as happy as possible. Drop the judgements. Find the best in everyone.

2.Give- I will not make excuses of why I cannot do service to others. I don’t care if I am in my bed and feeling sick, I consider it an honor to help. Giving and worrying about others instead of myself is a good anti-depressant. We know it, yet we hold back. It doesn’t take religion. It takes human beings to do good things. Religion can be a facilitator of it, but we all have it in us to complete the human chain.

3. Learn – there is so much out there. Don’t tell me what you already know, tell me what you want to know. I am so interested in thatKeep learning. Keep reading. Keep wondering. ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Speaking of wondering… I am sure you are dying to know that 2015 is the year of the sheep (or goat). So hopefully, this time next year, I will be saying, “Yep. Shaved that sheep. Great year.”

But of course, that will be up to me.

Here sheepy, sheepy.  


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Published by Dave Mainelli

Small business owner, former International franchise business consultant, musician, father, husband, and writer. Served on the B.O.D. for Red Hen Press and Fine Lines Literary Magazine, an MFA in Writing from the University of Nebraska, and a teacher for Wayne State and Iowa Western. A short story collection, 'How To Be Lonely' due out January 2021.

4 thoughts on “Love, Give, Learn, part 2. A summary of 2014

  1. David – Happy New Year! Thanks for your email and for the update. 2014 was a good year for you. Many really good accomplishments around your God given talents. Isn’t it great when you can use your gifts rather than trying to hit your head against the wall of the business world everyday?

    I’m under the weather at the moment — picked up the flu (surprised by this since I probably only kissed or shook hands with 150 relatives in the past week or so). Anyway, I’ll be better by next week for sure. Let’s grab coffee or lunch and catch up. Let me know if there is a day that works for you and we’ll make it happen.

    Thanks again and enjoy the games today!


    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 1 person

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