Valentine’s Day is a most special day for me and Jeanann. It is the day we first met, and that was 45 years ago. I saw this alluring young coed sitting by herself at the Dixie Electric Co. in Dayton, OH. I walked up to her and asked her to dance, and she said “YES!” Boy, could she dance!

Just one brief encounter has turned into a life together, with two fabulous children, full of love and desires. Someone asked me if I would change anything. That answer came easily as I responded, “Of course I would.” I would change all the missteps, the failures, turn the bad times into good times, have money when I didn’t, be able to help when I couldn’t, and be nice and kind when I wasn’t. I would leave all the good things intact; I would just make the bad times better.

Now if you are a Star Trek sci-fi buff like I am, you know the consequences if you change the past. The future would not be the same as you know it. By changing the bad times to what you think would be good times, you would be embarking on a totally different road fraught with new challenges and consequences which could even be worse than what you’ve experienced. Instead of two kids, you may have had eight, or none. Instead of 45 years together, you could be divorced three times over.

You are where you are today not only because of the good times but also because of the bad times. To have a successful marriage, you must go through bad times, and struggles that test the relationship. Steel sharpens steel. Without challenges, you’ll never appreciate what you truly have together as a couple or a family.

I am my worst critic. Someone can give me critical feedback and I guarantee you I would know it was coming and be ten times harder on myself. I would dwell on mistakes instead of celebrating successes. If you can relate, I give you hope. Today, instead of beating myself up, I get up and dust myself off. I forgive myself and MOVE FORWARD. Can I fix it and if so, what are the steps to get there? When I do this, I usually follow up with success. I may stumble again in the process but just rinse and repeat.

What seems like a small little change is extraordinary in the results it provides. Fall down eight times, get up nine. No matter what it takes, stay the course. I have several speaking engagements booked for 2024, but I need a lot more. I keep reaching out, pushing for referrals, and having conversations. Beating myself up is not going to get me engagements, actions will.

Which brings me back to Jeanann and Valentine’s Day. She always says it’s the little things that matter most. Take care of the little things and the big things will come. That’s why I’m so excited about another year with my lovely bride. More good times are coming.

Will there be bad times, yep. But without those, you’ll never really appreciate what you have and the good times to come. So to answer the question again, would I change anything? The answer is no. Because if I did, I wouldn’t be here with her today. Don’t stare in the rearview mirror, always look out the windshield to see all the opportunities about to come. Happy Valentine’s Day and happy 45th. I LOVE YOU!!!

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