Kenton Gibbs | Staff Writer

Lately I have come to the realization that as a black person in America I am faced with my own mortality at an alarmingly early age. This fact has made me become a more positive and loving personal all around. So the people I’ve been showing this appreciation and gratefulness towards have been a little freaked out. But if I waited until the holidays everyone would have seen these behaviors as normal.

The holidays are a time for good will toward all mankind and embracing a loving and giving spirit. My family may have been a little different but it seemed as though the only time we could be civil and nice to each other was holidays and funerals. I’m here today to tell you don’t be like us. Embrace and love your family and friends as often as you get a chance to. There are so many reasons why we need to do this that few people ever explore. But the first thing I have to do is be a little morbid to show why year round positivity and love are necessary.

There are times where we become so self-absorbed that we don’t take the time to check on those who mean the most to us. But if we do it’s only the older people in our lives because we’re young and we’ll have forever with our friends right?…Wrong.

The sad truth is that according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), for young black men between the ages of 15 and 24 the three leading causes of death are homicide, unintentional injury and suicide. These three things are all sudden and unexpected. These things don’t stop or start based on our schedules.

Causes of death demographics are similar for black women of the same age group. Although the top three aren’t the same, the CDC reports over 40 percent of deaths in young black women are from unintentional injury or homicide. This goes to show we might not have as much time with our favorite people as we think we do.

Tell the women in your life they’re important, thank them for all they do for you. Call the young men in your life and tell them how much you care about them. Ask your siblings, cousins and long time friends how they’re doing. What do you have to lose besides five to ten minutes on a conversation with your people who mean the world to you?

I have heard entirely too many stories of people who lost a friend or family member suddenly. Then they felt terrible because they remember their last conversation with that person felt like forever ago or that chat didn’t end favorably. I’m here to say don’t let that be you. Don’t let your bestfriend pass meanwhile you all haven’t spoken because y’all were upset with each other over a minor disagreement.

In a world where we are more divided than ever, if you can’t find the time to love up on anyone else please let it be your loved ones. Life is to precious to wait around and let petty beefs linger. Eat great food, drink great drinks (but responsibly of course), watch corny holiday movies and after the holidays are over please don’t let the feelings of compassion and goodwill be an annual brief and passing wave.