By: D. A. Slinkard I think back to the year of 1997, which is a year that has significant meaning in my life and shall never lose its importance to me. This was the year I was really going to be doing some awesome things as I was finally going to be old enough to legally get behind the wheel of a car and drive. The year started out with so much anticipation, as I could hardly wait to turn 16 so I could burn up and down the highway going nowhere as fast as possible. The year 1997 also happens to be when “Tubthumping” was released by the British rock band Chumbawamba. Oh, you don’t recognize the song title of “Tubthumping”? – well, you may recognize the lyrics, “I get knocked down, but I get up again. You’re never going to keep me down. We’ll be singing, when we’re winning, we’ll be singing.” I write about this song because it was released upon the American airwaves just months after my dad had passed away at the age of 78. Honestly, I did not realize how crushing of a blow it would be for a young teenage boy to lose his best friend, to lose his dad; but I was quickly finding out the cold, hard facts of reality – that we will get knocked down, but what is important, is that we get up again. I believe this is the story of life; we must make sure that when we do feel the crushing blows of life, we pick ourselves up off the ground one more time. There is this saying, “Get knocked down 7 times, get back up 8,” and this really needs to be the mantra of your everyday living. If you have a pulse, something bad is bound to happen to you; but what makes us who we are is how we handle those situations. How are you handling 2018 thus far? Are you doing the thumping or are you being thumped? In this day of social media, we have become far greater pretenders than what we realize. You cannot judge a person by their status updates. If Facebook was truthful with all the positive memes, updates and smiling faces, then doctors, psychologists and pharmaceutical companies would be run out of business, as we would have no need for the “happy” pills. Truth be told, there are a lot of hurt people walking around putting on a fake smile while the storm is brewing within. We all have thunderstorms, just like we all have sunshine, but sometimes we have to be the one to mentally decide which one is going to be more prevalent, the thunderstorms or the sunshine. This is life. This is reality. If the first 3 months of 2018 have not been going the way you want, so what? Who cares? What are you going to do about it? Don’t believe me? Let’s compare notes – since January 22, 2018, I have been in Huntsville Hospital for a total of 23 days. There were 70 days from January 22 to the date I am writing this, April 2, 2018. I write this not to become some martyr, not at all; I write this to say, “Hey, it’s alright, I’m alright, you’re going to be alright, I’m going to be alright.” I am not trying to come across in the wrong manner, but I am telling you that I can have a positive outlook on life because I choose to have a positive outlook. I have been knocked down multiple times in 2018, but the only thing that matters is that I keep getting back up. I am telling you right now, right here, that if you have been knocked down in 2018, then now is the time to pick yourself up off the ground and go do something about it. You cannot wait for tomorrow; you cannot wait for next week; you need to act upon this now. There is no better time than now to change the way your year is going, but you must first believe you can do something about it. When you believe you will get back up from something bad happening in your life, that is when you will notice the change from within. You get knocked down, but you get up again. Nothing is going to keep you down when you have the right mindset and approach to your everyday life. Go be great! By: D. A. Slinkard D.A. Slinkard is the manager of the Athens Staples store

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