Realize. Prioritize. Capitalize.



Happy Holidays from the great people of! I hope you all genuinely enjoy the moments that the holidays bring with family and friends. Just recently I lost a good friend in Austin Harris and it was very hard to cope. Being in the military I rarely get to contact friends like I want to and visits come even more seldomly. Austin (often referred to ADot) was honestly the most stand-up guy I have ever encountered in my 25 years of living. I had the opportunity to kick it with him the last two times I was able to get home (July & October) and the one time we actually got to sit down and talk about life and our progressions was unexpectedly the last conversation we shared together. Austin was the last person I expected to leave this Earth so soon. I think everyone has that one reality check when losing someone close to where they realize that anyone can go at anytime. He was my check.  #RestUpADot

With that unexpected loss I knew I would be going home for the few days we were given off for Christmas break and Christmas is a double celebration because my father's birthday is the 26th. With that in mind I knew it had been a minute since me and my dad had some real bonding time with me trying to squeeze all my family and friends in my less than 4 day visit. While on the phone with him a couple weeks back I was trying to figure out what on Earth was I going to do for his birthday. Coming to reality with the fact that I am expected to be deployed August '16 for 9 months I will be missing him turning 60 next year. With this in mind I knew I had to try and give him something pretty good, enough to remember for 2 years lol. My dad is the biggest Knicks fan I know. Knicks hats, shirts, pants, sweat suits, banners, basketballs, dvd, all of that! Living only about 3 hours from Atlanta I thought maybe I could give him the opportunity to go see the Knicks play as a birthday gift since he hasn't been to a game since 1995 (literally). While I'm on the phone with him I begin looking up the schedule for the Knicks to see when they play in Atlanta. IRONICALLY December 26th they play each other in Atlanta. What are the odds?! I expected to send him with a friend, not be able to join him.

After making sure he didn't have any plans that weekend with his wife I proceeded to purchase the nearly $400 tickets. After spoiling my new nephew, buying for my mom, bills, and copping a little something for myself I have to admit my pockets were a little sore to say the least. But it wasn't about the money. I wasn't worried about how my account was looking. Dollar signs don't come close to comparison with quality time with my father doing something that will instill a lifetime memory he can look back on forever. Time is so short and when driving to and from Atlanta I glanced over a couple times just to look at him and be thankful that I have someone like him in my life that has loved me unconditionally for 25 years. I can admit in my teens I didn't want to hang out with my parents. I was more interested in running around with my friends and taking trips with other people I knew I would have "fun" with. I thank God that He gave me the opportunity to correct those mistakes and give me the chance to get that time with my father. Something no one can take away from us. Money will come and go, but opportunities like that don't come often. We must realize what's important and prioritize the things that will always be there compared to some that are once in a lifetime. Though it may have hurt my pocket a little, I get paid on the 1st and 15th throughout my deployment and career. I am not promised that I will ever get to share laughs, car conversations and arguments with my father again. We have to take advantage of these chances to be with loved ones and close friends. Being with my dad that entire day was the highlight of my year. Realize the situation. Prioritize by importance. Capitalize on the opportunities!