The word “should” is often vilified, and probably with good reason. Most of the time, it conjures up more guilt than it does motivation.  Like, you should be exercising…but instead, you’re doing bicep curls with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. (Hey, that’s called resistance training.  Don’t judge me.)

As a self-help geek, I know that reframing things from a burdensome “have to,” to a more light hearted “get to” is a good way to go. Less condemnation, more freedom.  It’s all semantics, but I find that it works.

That is, until I conveniently forget this fact in the midst of some self-created stress freak out, and go right back to whining about everything that I “have” to do.

But something happened recently that made me realize how important it is to frame things correctly.

A man named John Moore passed away on February 6th of this year, not long after his 50th birthday.  We were high school friends, and went to Junior Prom together back in the day.

He was an amazingly sweet guy. Not to mention charitable.  When I showed up as his date, I was sporting a horrific Jiffy Pop hairdo and a dress that looked like it required its own inflation device.  Not only did he not run screaming for the hills, he allowed there to be photographic evidence that he attended a public function with a human parade float.

Mr. Debonair & Miss Jiffy Pop Hair

Mr. Debonair & Miss Jiffy Pop Hair

We lost touch over time, but I was thrilled to reconnect with him in recent years on Facebook. He had a beautiful wife, a two year old son and had been an EMT and a school teacher before starting his own business.  Say what you will about the shallow harshness of social media, but I never saw anything but loving words posted to and about John.

What happened? And more to the point, why was the world deprived of such an incredible human being?

I don’t know.  I will never understand it.

But I do know this.

I get to deal with gray hair and wrinkles.

I get to drag my ass out of bed to exercise.

I get to be told that I’m a dinosaur for thinking Fetty Wap is a sandwich, not a singer.

I don’t have to be here.  I get to be here.

And if you’re reading this – thankfully – so do you.

Celebrate that fact.

(And yes, you have to.)