…things aren't always easy and some periods of life are more challenging than others. There are times that test our ability to find the humor or highlight in a situation – it feels like it would be better to stay in bed and hide under the covers. If no one can see us, we don't have deal with anything, right?

This month has thrown a lot my way. My mother-in-law had back surgery at 81 and her recovery has been a roller coaster. There have been hours spent at the hospital, hours spent helping organize medications and trying to find ways to make things easier on her.

Then last week, the nurse at my dad's memory care home died in her sleep. She was only 62. That makes you think…

Other things are flying around too but I don't want to get into all the details, but let's just say it's been A LOT.  I've been pulling out the stops on self-care strategies to try to keep some sort of balance. To manage my stress levels. To keep my perspective and remember what is important and what needs my attention NOW.

One day, after helping my mother-in-law and then spending some time with my dad, I found myself stressed out about all the work things I had on my to-do list that hadn't even been considered yet. As I drove up the street I stopped myself and thought, “Next week, am I going to wish I had done 2 more flag designs that may or may not be licensed, or will I be glad I supported a woman in pain and visited with my dad and got him to smile?”  Then the stress and the to-do list melted away.

YES – we need to get our work done, make money and pay our bills. But we also need to maintain some balance. We need to be present and engaged with the people and things we love – because we don't know how long they or we will be here. We aren't guaranteed to live another 10 or 30 years or even another day, so make sure you are living the life you want to each and every day.

Hug the people you love a little longer. Share your feelings, your hopes and dreams. Take action! Dare to do that thing you want to try but you've been putting off… LIVE FULL OUT.

Find as much happiness as you can in the moment. Share it with as many people as you can. Pivot when you need to. Cry if the tears need to flow and laugh at every chance you get.

There are no guarantees so don't waste the time you have!

TODAY is a great day to be HAPPY!

– Tara Reed