MARGIE AND I ARE NO LONGER LIVING TOGETHER! 🫨

For roughly 9 years (we actually don’t know when we first got together) Margie and I have lived together. We went to bed together every night, we woke up in each others arms. She even once had a cute little thing to say about brushing our teeth in the same sink. She made her cakes in the kitchen, and on occasion, I wrote in the living room. We watched movies on the couch together. As our busy lives ticked away we always had the fact that we were living together to come back to at the end of the day. That is no longer the case.

In January of 2022, I had to undergo open-heart surgery. Most of you know this story. If you don’t, I wrote an entire book, The Beat Goes On, that chronicles my journey. This includes a brief flirtation with death. After all of that, my life, and consequently our life, was never the same. You would think this would happen all at once. That it may be one of those epiphany moments. It didn’t. There were small changes. Especially after writing the afore-mentioned book, realizations began to dawn on me. This began to create changes in my life. My writing took on a new sense of urgency. My humor became far more valuable. Of course, as the title of this post says, Margie and I stopped living together.

Why after years together and coming out of such a traumatic experience, would we choose to stop living together? Let me clarify. We are still under the same roof. We still look forward to collapsing in each other arms after a long hard day. We still watch movies on the couch. How can I say that we don’t live together? The reason I say that is there was a dramatic shift in how we perceive our relationship. When you are living with someone, you are just going through a day-by-day existence. What my medical adventure taught us is that we are actually dying together.

At first blush, this may sound a bit morbid. The thing that makes life so valuable is the fact that it ends. If it were not for the possibility of death, life would cease to have much meaning. What sounds scary, but it never-the-less true, is that every second we live, we are one second closer to death. It is that constant ticking of the clock that should make every second more and more valuable. When Margie and I realized that we were slowly dying together, everything became more precious. Moments we spend in the kitchen being silly. Nights that I read to her in bed. Trips to the grocery store. You never know when any of there could be the last of its kind.

Knowing that everyone we are share our life with, we are actually slowly dying together may sound like one of the most dark ways of thinking, but it is the opposite. Could you really be mad at the driver who cut you off if you think about the fact that both of you are on earth dying together? Him, perhaps sooner if he continues to drive like a fool. How about the customer that is rude to you? Your life, and theirs, is continually growing shorter. Are you really going to waste any of it on anger? I think the realization that we are all on earth dying together fosters a sense of compassion for a stranger. You never know when their life, or yours, could end. Make every second the precious treasure it is.

As for the beautiful (and smart, she is not just beauty.) lady that I share my home with, we are no longer living together and we have never been happier or more in love.

SCARCITY CAN BE YOUR POWER!😮

Scarcity is something I normally would not recommend focusing on. After all, where focus goes, energy flows. Today, we are going to have an exception for this. Today we are going to find out how to use Scarcity to help us live an amazing life.

The picture above, which would be a personal nightmare for me, shows when there is only one piece of pizza 🍕 left and several hungry people, it becomes more valuable. The same can be said of so many things in our life. A depreciating supply results in an increasing value. You should probably read that last line again.

Margie and I have conflicting feelings on several topics. That’s what keeps the spark in our relationship sometimes. One of those is the ticking sound of the clock. I find it soothing. Margie, on the other hand, says that it reminds her that her life is ticking away. That is literally true I suppose. Everyone of those ticks of the clock is a moment in time we shall never have back. She is also right about something else. Everyone of those ticks is also bringing us ever closer to our end.

Many people cannot bear this thought and do their best not to think about it. By doing so, it is my firm belief they are leaving one of the best motivators on the table. Yes, everyday the grim reaper gets one step closer. It is my hope for all of us that he is a very slow walker, but we never know. He could catch us in 20 years, one year, or tomorrow. Knowing that any day could be your last should motivate you to make it your best.

I’m hoping we are all taking care of our mind, bodies and spirits. Maybe we are not to concerned about our end approaching. There is one very important thing that Margie can remind us of. The most valuable asset we have in our life is a depreciating asset. That is time. In essence, our life is a depreciating asset. As we discussed earlier, this makes it ever more valuable. Like the pizza, every day we have one slice less.

To many this could seem doom and gloom, but it shouldn’t. Let me share with you what I thought of when I heard this. My mind, as it often does, thought of Margie. I always remind myself that on any given day, it could be my last opportunity to tell her that I love her and remind her how beautiful she is. That is why not a day goes by where I do not do that. Hearing her thoughts on the clock and thinking about the disappearing pizza made me realize two things. One, that it is national pizza month and I could really go for a slice. Two, and more important, is that our time together is depreciating. That means with every second that ticks off the clock, there is one less opportunity to say “I love you” to each other. That also means, every time that we do so, each one becomes more valuable because there is less of them left! Think of that when hugs, kisses, and “I love you” begins to become taken for granted.

All these thoughts are not limited to romantic relationships. It could be one less second to teach your children valuable life lessons. One less second to share your gifts with the world. One less second to be mindful and take in that sunrise you are enjoying. Life, our life, is a depreciating asset and every second it becomes more and more valuable. Next time you hear a ticking of a clock, or watch a second hand moving around, or the minutes pass by on your cell phone, remember this. Use it to motivate you into making the most of your every more valuable life.

WHAT IS YOUR STORY?😕

One of my favorite exercises to have people do is to write their own eulogy. I feel it helps people get clear, often for the first time in their lives, what kind of person they want to be remembered as. It also makes it pretty clear if there are on track to be remembered as that kind of person. Going forward, it gives them a pretty good set of self-enforced guidelines. If you know what kind of person you would like to be remembered as, are the actions you are taking going to lead to that? If not, change them. If so, do them more often. It makes life simple and helps steer the rudder of our ship of life, if you will.

There are many people who have an issue with this exercise, or in some cases flat out refuse to do it. They have a hard time getting past the death part. Les Brown said it best, that you can’t get out of life alive. He also said, “Most people die at 25, but don’t get buried until they are 65.” Death is a natural part of life, but I do not want someone’s fear of it to get in their way of success. It is just this thought that I was pondering, along with what the subject of my fifth book will be, when the answer to both questions came to me!

Let me ask you a question that I really want you to think about. If you were to write your autobiography, that is the story of your life, what would the title be? I have been encouraged to write one myself. The best title I could come up with is The Amazing Life of an Ordinary Man. I will explain that in a future post. What I want to plant in your mind is the seed of what story you will leave behind. Will it be one of someone who inspired others or who was only out for their own gain? Will it be of someone who gave or someone who was always looking to take? A “What is in it for me?” sort of attitude. Let me give a clue to those people. As Denzel Washington once said, “I have never seen a U-Haul behind a hearse.” You can’t take it with you. Think of the title of your story. How will it read? Even if you find yourself down and out at the moment, that can be where your story changes. How many of us like to go to a movie or read a book where the main character rises up from the ashes to achieve a level of greatness? The story wouldn’t be as good without the struggle.

Want to take this exercise a step further to help improve your life even more? Imagine someone else was writing your biography, what would they say? What would they title it? Notice how this will be different with each person you think of. If you want to be the best spouse you can be, imagine your better half is about to begin work writing your life story. You certainly would not want them to say you were an inattentive lover. You wouldn’t want to read that you were emotionally unavailable. You want to read how you made their heart sing. You want to read that you made them feel safe both physically and emotionally. Ok, if that is what you want to read, what actions can you take to make that the story? How about if your children were going to write your biography? What would they say about you? Are there ways you could improve that story? Take those actions now.

Think about your own autobiography. Is it what you want it to be so far? If not, what actions can you take to change that? I would start with this first. Then when you are comfortable that you are on track to live the story you would want to write, think of others. What would your spouse write? Your children? Your friends? What actions could you take to make their story one that would make you proud. This should be a fun and insightful exercise. I would love to hear about your experience.

ARE YOU TRULY WHAT YOU ARE?

At first, this question may seem silly. Of course you are who you are. Looking at the quote above, we can dig a little deeper. The quote from Mr. Jung, whom I do not always agree with, brings some good questions to mind. How many of us know people who always seem to be preaching one thing, but doing another? You know the ones. They talk about how you should be healthy, all while they go out and get drunk several nights a week. How about those who tell us they can’t stand drama, but a few minutes later are whispering the latest gossip in your ear? I am sure we all know people like this.

Here is where things can get a little uncomfortable. It many ways, that person could be found in the mirror. On my YouTube channel (Neil Panosian) and in my second book, Living the Dream, I advocate an exercise that can be very beneficial. That is to write our own eulogy. This can sound morbid to some, but it is a very powerful tool for transforming your life. It has certainly made a huge difference in my own. This idea occurred to me while contemplating the death of my cousin in his early twenties. It solidified when I was asked to write 5 eulogies in 2 years. I began to think of what people would say about me when I was gone.

More to the point, I began to think of what I wanted them to say. I quickly scratched a few notes down on paper. I wanted to be known as someone who made a positive difference in people’s lives. I wanted to be a light that caused others to keep going when they wanted to give up. I wanted to be an example for how a man should treat a lady. I wanted to give to the greater good and leave the world a better place than I found it. I had parroted most of these statements for years. Then I had to ask myself a very important question – was I living them? In many ways, the stark truth was that I was not. At least I was not doing so to the fullest. In some cases I was at sometimes, and then not others. No consistency. My actions did not always match my words.

How about you? Do your actions match your words? Do you honestly think people will describe you as you hope to be when you pass on? In my own life, doing this exercise of writing my eulogy, helped me become clear, for the first time in my life, as to the person I wished to be. It also helped provide me a good course of action as well as a set of guidelines. These were not rules others were telling me, but instead ones that went with the values I had chosen to be remembered as. I can ask myself, is what I am doing an example of how to treat the one that you love? How about be a gentleman? What about leaving the world a better place? If the answer is ‘no’ I know that I need to change those actions to better match the person I am striving to be. If the answer is ‘yes’ I know that the actions I am taking are in line with the values I have and the kind of person I wish to be remembered as. How about you? How do you wish to be remembered? Are you taking actions that will lead others to remember you that way, or are you someone who they will remember as a person who said one thing and did another?

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU FEEL LAZY

We have all been there. A million things on the ‘to do list’ and no ambition to do them. Many of these things we know will make our lives better. It could be cleaning the house so we can relax at the end of the day. It could be putting in the effort at the gym so we can be healthy and avoid illness. We know these activities will make our lives better, but here we sit. We are on the couch watching videos of pet tricks. Maybe we are sitting in our gaming chair tackling the latest video game.

We even put off things we might enjoy. Going out to dinner with that friend we want to catch up with. Taking ourselves for that fancy dinner we know we deserve. To, of course, taking that vacation to recharge our batteries so we can tackle life head on. Yet we are still laying in bed binging on Netflix.

Here is a device that can cure your laziness. An hourglass. Turn it upside down and watch the sand start to flow from one side to another. Notice it doesn’t stop whether you are sitting on the couch or doing something productive? This is also how our lives are flowing. Time doesn’t stop if we “take a break”. We only have so much time. Here is the uncomfortable point – it is slipping away as we are watching videos of cats who look like poplars.

BONUS: you want even more motivation to get off your butt and start living your life? Cover the top half of the hourglass. See the sand filling up the bottom? How long until it stops? You don’t know if you can’t see the top. All you know for sure is it is getting closer to the end with each passing second. The same holds true with life. We don’t know how much sand is in the top of the hourglass. All we know for sure is the bottom is filling up more every second and the end could come at any moment. The time to live your life is now, while there is still sand in the hourglass.

WHAT HAPPENED WHEN I DIED

I APOLOGIZE FOR LEAVING YOU GUYS WONDERING, BUT I MADE IT THROUGH THE OPEN HEART SURGERY! WELL, KIND OF. THERE WAS ACTUALLY A MOMENT COMING OUT OF IT THAT DID NOT GO SO WELL. ONE OF THOSE MOMENTS THAT WILL STICK WITH ME FOR QUITE SOME TIME.

I AM CURRENTLY WORKING ON A BOOK THAT WILL DETAIL MY ENTIRE JOURNEY THROUGH THIS MEDICAL ADVENTURE, BUT I’M GOING TO SHARE THE PIVOTAL MOMENT WITH YOU HERE. THAT WOULD BE THE MOMENT I ALMOST DIDN’T MAKE IT BACK.

WHILE HAVING MY HEART SLICED AND DICED, I OBVIOUSLY HAD TO BE ON A BREATHING TUBE. THE FIRST THING I REMEMBER POST SURGERY WAS A NURSE SCREAMING “YOU HAVE TO BREATHE NEIL!” I REMEMBER DOING SO WITH A TUBE STUCK DOWN MY THROAT WAS QUITE DIFFICULT. THIS VOICE CAME FROM MY RIGHT SIDE. FROM MY LEFT SIDE I HEARD A FEMALE VOICE SAY “JUST RELAX” THIS SEEMED MORE UP MY ALLEY.

AS SOON AS I STARTED TO RELAX THINGS WENT BLACK AND I FELT RELAXED. THIS WAS PROMPTLY INTERRUPTED BY THE NURSE ON MY RIGHT SCREAMING “WE NEED YOU TO BREATHE” IN WHICH CASE I COULD FEEL THE DISCOMFORT OF THE TUBE IN MY THROAT. THIS WENT BACK AND FORTH FOR SOME UNDETERMINED AMOUNT OF TIME. FINALLY, THE NURSE ON THE RIGHT SAID “WE NEED YOU TO BREATHE DEEP IF YOU WANT THIS TUBE OUT!” NOW SHE WAS SPEAKING MY LANGUAGE.

I RECALL SUCKING ON AS THE TUBE SLID OUT. I THEN RECALL THE NURSE YELLING THEY NEEDED NARCAN. FADE TO BLACK.

I WOKE UP MOMENTS LATER BEING WHEELED DOWN A HALLWAY. “WHERE ARE WE GOING?” I ASKED. I WAS INFORMED I WAS GOING TO ICU TO RECOVER. THAT WAS PART TRUE. ICU – YES. RECOVERY- DIDN’T FEEL LIKE IT. THE NARCAN THEY GAVE ME TO BRING ME BACK IN THE OPERATING ROOM, SHUT DOWN THE RECEPTORS TO OPOIDS IN MY BRAIN. GOOD FOR AN ADDICT, NOT SO GOOD FOR SOMEONE JUST OUT OF HEART SURGERY.

THE EVENING OF MY SURGERY I LAID IN BED WITH 2, 12″ TUBES IN MY CHEST, WIRES COMING OUT OF MY CHEST, A CATHETER (WHICH IS ALWAYS HUMBLING) AND NO PAIN MEDICINE. OH, THEY TRIED GIVING ME SOME WHICH CAUSED ME TO GET SICK ON 4 SEPARATE OCCASIONS. CONSIDERING IN THE 48 HOURS LEADING UP TO THAT I HAD JUST CONSUMED WATER, THIS COULD HAVE BEEN A LOT WORSE. PLUS, GETTING SICK WITH TUBES IN YOUR CHEST AND JUST BEING STITCHED UP IS A WHOLE DIFFERENT ADVENTURE.

TALKING TO THE RESPIRATORY NURSE A FEW DAYS LATER, SHE INFORMED ME SHE WAS THE VOICE I HEARD YELLING ON MY RIGHT SIDE TO BREATHE AND THE ONE WHO REMOVED MY BREATHING TUBE. I THEN ASKED WHO WAS THE VOICE ON MY LEFT TELLING ME TO RELAX. I WAS INFORMED THERE WAS NO VOICE. YET, I RECALL HEARING IT CLEAR AS CAN BE. WHO THAT WAS WE WILL NEVER KNOW.

WHAT I WILL LEAVE FROM THIS EXPERIENCE IS THAT IF I CAN MAKE IT THROUGH OPEN HEART SURGERY WITHOUT PAIN PILLS, I CAN PRETTY MUCH DO ANYTHING. THANKS TO THE BRILLIANT WORK OF THE DOCTORS AND NURSES, I AM SO HERE AND EAGER TO BRING YOU EVERYTHING I CAN!

BY THE TIME YOU READ THIS, I’LL BE DEAD

Yes, you read that right. As I am typing these words, it is a little over 12 hours until my heart will cease to beat. You see, I am to undergo open-heart surgery. I have an aneurysm on the aorta in my heart and it needs to be repaired. Kind of a replace that pipe with this one sort of thing. In order to do that, they will need to cut open my rib cage, stop my heart and do a little slicing and dicing. I will be hooked up to machines to keep things moving I am told. However, for a brief period of time, everything will be shut down. That’s right folks, the store will be temporarily closed.

It is my sincerest desire that they will be able to jump start me and get the whole machinery up and running again. Making me a sort of modern day Lazarus, if you will. There are things about this whole procedure that make me a tad unsettled, but even more that have me intrigued. In the brief moments my life will have expired, will I see anything? A light? A guy with horns and a pitchfork? Maybe Buddha will come and give me some sage advice? Maybe Bob Marley will come and jam for me? That would actually be kind of cool. Does this mean I technically have 2 birthdays now? The one I came into this world on, July 29th and now the one I came back on, January 11th? I never was a big fan of winter, so perhaps having a birthday might give me a little something to look forward to.

Being that this may be the last collection of wisdom I am able to share with all of you, I wanted to distill what I think would be important. Ironically, the first thing that popped in my mind was a line I always heard a game show host use – “Be kind to yourself and each other.” In my mind, that is what it all boils down to. When we learn to love ourselves, we can afford more compassion and understanding for others. I think it is very important to make this a lifetime project and to start that project today. Whether you are 8 or 80, we all can learn about how to love ourselves and be kind to one another. In the very unlikely chance that I do not make it through this, I am determined to haunt those I care about. Not in the usual way. No, I would be the ghost that would whisper “You can do it!” when someone is feeling down on themselves. The little mysterious voice that lets everyone know that someone believes in them.

As I wrote those words, it occurred to me that we can, and should be, that voice while we are alive as well. The simple words, “I believe in you.” can make almost anyone’s heart soar. Much like the lessons we learned on appreciating each other last week, letting someone know you believe in them can change their world and all it will cost you is a breath and a second of your time.

When you are faced with a situation such as having heart surgery, it certainly causes you a moment of reflection. I looked back on my life and there was a lot of things that I shook my head at. I am sure we all have those. “Why did I say that?” “Why did I treat that person so harshly?” we all know those thoughts. What I did notice that gave me a great deal of peace, is that I worked on getting better every day. Sure, I might have done a lot wrong up to this point. I might continue to do some wrong in the future. What is true is that every day I tried to correct the mistakes I had made that day and to become a better version of myself. Not only did this benefit the world and those around me, but in a moment where you are quite honestly looking in the eyes of death, that is something that gives your soul some peace. With that thought in mind, I implore all of you to work on getting a little bit better every day. The world will thank you. Those around you will thank you. Most importantly, your soul will thank you.

As far as what will happen when they cut me open. What will I see? What has this whole journey been like? I am currently writing a book about the entire thing and it should be available in April of 2022 if everything goes according to plan. In regards to improving yourself and becoming the best version of you, that can be found in my 2 books, A Happy Life for Busy People and Living the Dream. Both of which you can find on the link below this post. I hope to see you all on the other side. Remember I believe in you and to love yourself and each other!

CLICK HERE TO GAIN ACCESS TO MY BOOKS

HAPPY? FIRST DAY OF WINTER?

In my corner of the world, today marks the first day of winter. Temperatures are below freezing, there is the least amount of sunlight. Things that are really not conducive to a smiley, happy type outlook. I am not the biggest fan of winter. Things at dying all around me. I go to work when it is dark and when I leave work it is dark.

This year, however, I am working to change my outlook. Winter presents one of the biggest challenges for me. I suffer from a condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder. It is where the lack of sunshine messes up your hormones and brain chemicals. This leads to things like fatigue, irritability and depression. These are not good qualities if you are a motivational author, speaker and blog writer.

Today not only marks the first day of winter, but three weeks to the day until I have open heart surgery. To be technical, for a small amount of time, I will be deceased during this procedure. That is to say, my heart will stop beating. God willing, after said time I will wake up again and begin to heal to be better than ever. It reminds me of winter turning into spring. Things die and then they are reborn.

So, I have decided, and I encourage you to do the same, to ‘put to death’ certain things in your life. Are there any negative habits you would like to rid yourself of? Toxic relationships you know you should really distance yourself from? Use this day, the first day of winter, the shortest day of the year, to kill off what doesn’t serve you in your own life. It will be a struggle, much like winter can be for me, but by spring we can be reborn with a healthy, more positive and rewarding life!

IT IS A GOOD DAY TO DIE

You would not expect such a line on a positive blog, but let me explain. This line is attributed to the Sioux Chief Crazy Horse. It may have been actually said by a different man, Low Dog first, but the idea is the same. The idea behind it is that we must live life so that if we were to meet an untimely demise, we would pass on with no regrets. I always understood the idea behind this phrase intellectually, but it has only been the last few years that I have really felt it in my spirit.

In about a month, I will be having open-heart surgery. Although the doctor is fairly confident, it still has a good amount of risk. Facing death is one of the best ways to give life a truer sense of meaning. Knowing there is a chance that death could be around the corner, can intensify your experience of life. Everything becomes more precious. Colors are more vibrant, times with friends become precious moments. You feel compelled to make sure everyone you care about that knows exactly how you feel. You live life with a overwhelming feeling of gratitude. This feeling is not only for all that we have, but even the challenges in life and for our life in general.

I feel fortunate to have been blessed to learn this lesson. There was a few ways in which this came to be so powerful for me. I would like to share them with you. Why? Because this is the way we should live. The sad and somewhat scary truth is that any day we have may be our last. When we discovered my heart issue, I was feeling on top of the world, yet without surgery, I was a walking timebomb. My heart stands the chance of literally exploding any day. As you can imagine, the prognosis after that would happen would not be good. There are many situations, most that are beyond our control, that could severely shorten our life expectancy. We should live our life accordingly.

It doesn’t have to take facing a serious health challenge or even realizing one could arise tomorrow to motivate us to live life to the fullest. I am going to give you two more ways in which this philosophy was driven home to me. The first is actually a very positive one. I can describe in one word the miraculous event that made me want to live life as the best possible version of myself and appreciate every breath that I take. That one word? Margie. Meeting a woman who genuinely cares so deeply for me and works so hard to be the best person she can be leaves me feeling thankful she chose me to share her life with. (Or did I chose her? The debate rages on.) Having someone who loves you, whether that is a parent, a child, a dog or, like in my case, the most beautiful woman on the planet, really fires up a desire inside of you to give them the best of everything. The surest way to have the best relationship you can is to work on becoming the best person you can. You may want to read that last line several times.

The most recent lesson of living your life in such a manner that it would be “a good day to die” is legacy. Years ago, I did a video for my YouTube channel (Neil Panosian) about writing your own eulogy. The purpose of that is to really focus on the kind of person you would like to be remembered as. This ties in with the love I have for my lady. I believe the worst feeling to have when you are facing death or the death of someone you care greatly for is not loss, but regret. When they ask people who were facing their earthly demise what they regretted about their lives the most, it was not the mistakes or the crazy things they had done. No, what a person who knows their time is drawing short regrets is things they have not done and have not tried. It is also realizing that the little things are the big things. I would love to treat Margie to everything her heart desires. I want to make all of her dreams come true. If I knew I only had a little time left, I would want to know I made her life, and every life I came in contact with a little better for my being here. I also would want to treasure some of the little things more. I would want to sit across the table from her sipping a cup of great coffee and letting her beautiful smile melt my heart. I would want to lay in bed next to her and wrap my arms around her and feel close to the woman I love so much.

Never knowing when a moment will be the last has us savoring it so much. Finding out I needed this dangerous surgery really gave us a stark reminder of that fact. Finding such an amazing woman had me knowing it all along. I encourage you to take a step back from your busy life to realize how fragile and precious it is. Those we love may not be here tomorrow and we may not be either. That is why we must enjoy every day, every moment and every breath. We must appreciate them for the priceless gifts that they are. We must live our lives so full that it would be a good day to die.

In my life I have been surrounded by great friends and family. I have had the opportunity to use the gifts that the creator has given me to bring joy to others. I have the privilege of loving what I believe to be the most beautiful woman I have ever known. My heart has known the great love that she has returned to me. There is certainly a lot more I wish and desire to accomplish and share, but my life has been good and if I were to leave this world today, it would be a good day to die.