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Friday, January 23, 2015

If I Had My Life to Live Over ...

On a recent Tuesday night, I made my rounds at the Union Avenue Community Pool, where the America Rows and Swims Newburgh kids were doing their  thing.  In the double lane, Alexandra was teaching the youngest kids water confidence and the basics of Learn to Swim.  In Lanes 3 and 4, Coach Frankie was coaching the after-school swim club, teaching them to swim laps of freestyle and backstroke.  Davonte was apprentice lifeguarding – he is a Student Ambassador and the program paid for his Lifeguard course.  In Lane 6, Johnny was training the older kids to pass dive down for the brick and pass the upcoming Lifeguard test.  Coach Kennedy was at the other end, administering the USRowing Swim Test to the older kids, so they could safely be out in crew shells come Spring.  And Mikey was acting as our main Lifeguard.  There were about 40 kids in the Pool at some level or another, and everyone teaching / lifeguarding was either a program volunteer or paid for by ARSN, my charity.  All the kids in the pool were participating for free – we provide a free swim clinic, swim lessons, afterschool swim club, and lifeguard training – to underserved youth.  Virtually everyone came to us as a non-swimmer.  As I made my final round, I just looked out, inhaled the delicious smell of the Pool and said to myself, “I did this.  Coach and I did this, we all did this.”  I knew we were not only teaching a sport and fitness, but we were saving lives.  And I felt pretty darn good.

            I tell you this not to toot my own horn, but to share with you the Joy of helping others.  I want to leave this world in a better place than where I found it, even if it is just my little corner of the world.  I have had great success as a lawyer and a business owner, and I keep expanding and growing the businesses every day.  I love being an entrepreneur.  But it’s not OK to “just” achieve financial success.  Once you hit that goal, you have an obligation to give back to the world at large, whether it’s donating to charity, sharing your skills, or in my case, founding a not for profit, America Rows and Swims Newburgh.  If you aren’t doing so already, find a charity or a cause you love and get out there and give!  There are countless opportunities, whether it’s helping out at a food pantry, volunteering at a hospital, or mentoring a youth who could use your help.  Put down the remote, and do something, so that someday people will say:  ah yes, That Person, they lived a good life, they gave their talents freely, I will remember them well. 

I will leave you with these words from the beloved and brilliant Erma Bombeck, entitled, “Someone asked me the other day if I had my life to live over would I change anything.

My answer was no, but then I thought about it and changed my mind.

If I had my life to live over again I would have waxed less and listened more.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy and complaining about the shadow over my feet, I'd have cherished every minute of it and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was to be my only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.

I would have eaten popcorn in the "good" living room and worried less about the dirt when you lit the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would have burnt the pink candle that was sculptured like a rose before it melted while being stored.

I would have sat cross-legged on the lawn with my children and never worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television ... and more while watching real life.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband which I took for granted.

I would have eaten less cottage cheese and more ice cream.

I would have gone to bed when I was sick, instead of pretending the Earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for a day.

I would never have bought ANYTHING just because it was practical/wouldn't show soil/ guaranteed to last a lifetime.

When my child kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later. Now, go get washed up for dinner."

There would have been more I love yous ... more I'm sorrys ... more I'm listenings ... but mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute of it ... look at it and really see it ... try it on ... live it ... exhaust it ... and never give that minute back until there was nothing left of it … When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me.” 
 
Erma Bombeck, Eat Less Cottage Cheese and More Ice Cream: Thoughts on Life from Erma Bombeck
Have a great day, everyone!  And, as always, Remember to Count Your Blessings -- and they're all Blessings <3 Mrs. Lo.  For more of the Mrs. Lo Blog, visit www.LoBiondo.org.