It’s been a while folks and I’m glad to be back.

I spent a week in Panama celebrating my family reunion. I’ll fill you in on those details in a few. What I did want to touch on was the irony of how my vacation started. The day I landed in Panama I believe was the day that Mike Brown was killed in Missouri. For the first time ever I had been overseas while something of note went down in the states. Seeing the activity that followed in Ferguson from the outside literally looking in was something to behold. The states looked like total anarchy. I felt detached from what was happening in a sense. I was still saddened about another unarmed man being gunned down for no reason. This type of thing is inexplicable.

I decided that I was on vacation and I wasn’t going to look into the details of this event until I got back. So I began my family reunion week on a Monday. We had a week  full of events planned around Panama. Panamanian is my background by the way. I hadn’t been to Panama since 2000. So for me this trip was a must. By early Wednesday morning I learned of Robin Williams’ passing. I thought to myself “what a way to start a damn vacation.” It seemed to me like I went away at the perfect time.

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Ironically enough,stories about death always inspire me to appreciate life. In hindsight maybe these horrible things that transpired allowed me to enjoy my time away even more. Returning to Panama at 25 allowed me to see the country in a different light. Of course being that I’m older I was able to do more things. I was able to to see what the night life was about. I got to learn about how much the city has grown. I must’ve visited about three beaches out there. We took boats into the rainforest and around the canal. It was all just nuts.

The coolest part I think was hearing all the stories from the elders in our family. We would ride through their old neighborhoods and it would be much to their delight or their chagrin. Their commentaries on what looks the same or what’s been unkempt were honest but funny. It did drive home the point to me that it’s really good to see what your parents saw. It’s a whole new perspective when you walk the same streets that they did. It sort of brings their childhood to you. The experience is different as they’re there narrating this whole experience. You learn a lot. You gain even more appreciation for them.

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I came back on the 18th feeling refreshed.

I returned simply wanting to share this snippet with you all. I wanted to to encourage all of you to take time off when you can. Smell the roses when you can. Smile when you can. It is alright. I also wanted to encourage you all to visit places where your parents grew up. Try and see the world through their eyes for even just a little bit. Let’s never be “grinding” so hard that we can’t treat ourselves. Again…it is alright!

These are my words and I make no apologies

DamnPops is a writer on the staff at SBM: “I’m not a biter, I’m a writer for myself and others. ” Brooklyn born dude trying to figure out this life just like you. Come on this journey with me. Follow me on Twitter @DamnPOPS