These days we all seem to be in “crisis mode” 24×7, as though if we were to relax/lighten up for one second our lives would crumble around us. That’s just plain sad. I’m not suggesting that the country and the world don’t have some pretty serious problems (we do), but if we spend all of our time and energy worrying and fretting, like a bunch of agitated monkeys, then life’s going to pass us by. We’ll have solved nothing, plus missed out on a lot of living, laughing, and loving along the way. And as far as I know, there are no do-overs.

If you find yourself in this kind of undesirable situation, maybe it’s time you make some changes  . . . or at least take a step back, inhale deeply, and cut yourself some slack once in a while. None of us can live “under the gun” all the time and remain happy. It’s a surefire recipe for disaster. Sometimes you just have to do what feels good or right, learn to let things go, and simply live in the moment.

Someone forwarded the following passage to me. I don’t know the original source, and that’s not important. It’s the message behind the piece that makes it so compelling and so timely.

Ice cream sundae for lunch you say? (Why, yes please. Bring it on . . . and make mine a banana split!)

For those who understand, no explanation is needed. For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible . . .

One day, I had lunch with some friends. Jim, a short, balding, golfer-type who was about 80-years-old, came along with them. All-in-all, we were a pleasant bunch.

When the menus were presented, we ordered salads, sandwiches, and soups, except for Jim who said, “Ice Cream, please. Two scoops, chocolate.”

I wasn’t sure my ears heard right, and the others were aghast. “Along with heated apple pie,” Jim added, completely unabashed.

We tried to act nonchalant, as if people did this all the time. But when our orders were brought out, I didn’t enjoy mine.

I couldn’t take my eyes off Jim as his pie a-la-mode went down. The other guys couldn’t believe it. They ate their lunches silently and grinned.

The next time I went out to eat, I called and invited Jim. I lunched on white meat tuna. He ordered a parfait.

I smiled. He asked if he amused me.

I answered, “Yes, you do, but also you confuse me. How come you order rich desserts, while I feel I must be sensible?”

He laughed and said “I’m tasting all that is possible. I try to eat the food I need, and do the things I should. But life’s so short, my friend, I hate missing out on something good.”

He grinned. “This year I realized how old I was. So, before I die, I’ve got to try those things that for years I ignored:

“I haven’t smelled all the flowers yet. There are too many trout streams I haven’t fished. There are more fudge sundaes to wolf down and kites to be flown.

“There are too many golf courses I haven’t played. I’ve not laughed at all the jokes. I’ve missed a lot of sporting events and potato chips and Cokes.

“I want to wade again in water and feel ocean spray on my face. I want to sit in a country church once more and thank God for His grace.

“I want peanut butter every day spread on my morning toast. I want untimed long distance calls to the folks I love the most.

“I haven’t cried at all the movies yet, or walked in the morning rain. I need to feel wind on my face. I want to be in love again.

“So, if I choose to have dessert, instead of having dinner, then should I die before night fall, I’d say I died a winner, because I missed out on nothing. I filled my heart’s desire. I had that final chocolate mousse before my life expired!”

Hearing that, I called the waitress over. “I’ve changed my mind,” I said. “I want what he is having; only add some more whipped cream!”

This is my gift to you. Share this with your friends, including me if I’m lucky enough to be counted among them. Be mindful that happiness isn’t based on possessions, power, or prestige, but on relationships with people we like and respect. Remember that while money talks, chocolate ice cream sings!

Live well, love much, and laugh often. Be happy.

I couldn’t have said it better myself!

QUICK HITS

YOU GOTTA LOVE ITAlthough I wasn’t able to participate directly in the National Multiple Sclerosis Society MS 150 Bike Ride, Oct 22-23 (I was flying to Atlanta), I wanted to shout out to everyone who donated, volunteered, and/or rode. I supported a team headed by Kimberly Roush of All-Star Executive Coaching (www.allstarexecutivecoaching.com).  So far, Kim’s team has raised an amazing $30K toward their goal of $50K! Fundraising remains open for another six weeks so that Kim and the other teams can continue to close in on their goals. If you want to join the fight to end MS, it’s not too late. You can still donate at http://www.nationalmssociety.org/donate/index.aspx.

NEXT UP—I am participating in an Alzheimers Walk in Huntington Beach one week from now in memory of my Dad. Donations are welcome, or you can join me on the walk (http://2011walktoendalz.kintera.org/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=460716). Send email to me at [email protected] or call (866) 275-7155.

SOCIAL MEDIA EXPERT WANTED—I heard through the grapevine (LinkedIn actually) that a fashion company specializing in apparel for girls, juniors, and women is seeking a Social Media Manager to develop, implement, assess, and manage the company’s social media initiatives. This is a newly-created, hands-on position. Primary responsibilities are developing, building, and implementing a comprehensive social media strategy that engages consumers and strengthens company brands. A Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing, Communications, PR, Technology, or significant work experience is required in marketing or communications on the client- or agency-side, with at least 2 years specific to social media. If you have interest, or know someone who might, send email to me at [email protected]monkeyz.com or call (866) 275-7155.