I’d like to tell you how this specific sign off formula came by. It all started with a conversation I had with my brother, early on, in my writing days. He had decided to talk to me about how my texts had started to gain some traction and get some attention from different people. He wanted to tell me that people would soon (if it wasn’t the case already) start to take me seriously and some might even look up to me for perhaps guidance, advice, motivation or anything else. He urged me to take my writing seriously. He wanted to make sure I stayed on point and that I took this seriously, as any sound, kind-hearted big brother would.  

After he left my place, I thought about our conversation and I thanked the Gods for having a brother who offers guidance and whose criticism is never wasted. I may not agree with him on everything, but I know he wants to see me succeed and improve. I sat on my desk and went through my texts. I hadn’t written many and my blog wasn’t even up and running yet. I still shared my texts through WhatsApp.  

As I was reading through my texts, I saw they were lacking something. There was no proper signoff. There was no unique signature. Aside from my initials “F.B”, which later became “Freeman. B”, there was nothing else. My brother had suggested I finish my texts warning people I was simply offering my opinion on the subject matter, to avoid any trouble of any kind. That’s when I came up with “just one man’s opinion”. I don’t write to tell people what to do, how to think, what to eat, etc. I share my opinions, so that first part was perfectly suited for the ending.

However, something was still missing. I usually write at night, and people usually read them in the morning. I am lucky enough to have readers on different parts of the world. Night in Canada means morning in Europe and Africa. Moreover, people in Canada and the US, would read my texts in the morning and what do you say to someone in the morning? “Good morning”, “Have a good day!”, “Rise and shine!”, “Top of the morning to you!” (if you hail from Ireland!). I knew my signoff would have to include wishing a good day to people. I remember telling people I worked with after fixing something or arguing about a case, “now go on with your day!”. It meant “the problem has been solved. Go on with your day! On to the next one. Do not frown or be unhappy. Let’s continue our day”. It was always a positive send off to anyone I encountered.

As my mind was occupied with all that, I had an epiphany: the signoff had to sound like me, be coded to me, to my personality and style of writing. It had to be something that defined me, to my very core, on a cellular level. So…what defines me? A few things do: my freedom of thinking and speech, my propensity to use any derivative of the word “fuck’, my fiery and brash personality, the pleasure of making jokes (hilarious ones, thank you very much!) and so much more. Yet, as I thought about it, I realized one thing: I smile almost all the goddamn time! There is nothing that I love more than smiling. I smile for no reason when I am by myself. I smile at people for no reason. People are kind enough to smile at me. It might have to do with the fact that I have a harmless face, I hope. All my early texts ended with a request for people to smile.

I believe that no matter what happens in life, the one thing that should never be taken away from you, apart from your spirit, your freedom, your life, your will to live, is your smile. There is no better expression of peace, of joy and happiness, of a good spirit, than a genuine smile. Suddenly, I had an epiphany, within my epiphany: I am surrounded by smiles!! My dad smiles all the time, my mom cannot stop smiling to the point I think it is a disease (smilitis! There! I invented a new disease!), my brother smiles a lot, my people around me (friends and family) smile a lot! Heck, every girl that I have ever been in love with smiled a lot and they still do. Is there a better way to greet someone than simply saying, with a genuine smile “Hello”? I believe not!

That was the genesis of my signoff. “Now smile and go on with your day!”. It was easy to create and I felt like it defined me better than anything else I could have come up with. The funny part is, I have a friend, whom I have known for 20 years now, who genuinely thinks my signoff actually means “hey, go fuck yourself!”. He told me so a few weeks ago and I was flabbergasted. The dude knows me! How could he think that? Well…in his defense, he does know I love to tell people to go fuck themselves when they are being too serious, too annoying, impolite, rude, arrogant, or just because I want to mess with people. But in this case, he was wrong. Thankfully, we were sitting at a park and some other friends joined in the conversation. In the end, he was the only one interpreting my signoff that way and a wave of relief washed through my heart. So, every time I said my signoff, he heard “go fuck yourself”. Now, that’s funny!

Much to my surprise, I have a dear friend who lives in Europe, who has adopted my signoff as an affirmation/motivation/feel good phrase. He always listens to my audios in the morning as he goes to work, and he always sends me a greeting after listening. Now, what an honor that is! What an honor to hear that I am part of someone’s day. What an honor to hear I contribute, as little as possible to people’s start of the day, to be part of someone’s daily routine, to be part of their lives. No higher praise exists in my book.

I guess there is another lesson that can be found in this life: my “silly” words have touched people in a way that I never expected. My work has been a part of people’s lives and routines. That is a reminder of how connected we are to each other. It is a reminder of how a simple sentence, that might be dull or mundane to ourselves, can actually be a boost to someone else. It might help someone. And what is more helpful than a smile? I’ll wait for the answer.

I do take a lot of pride in my work. Yet, I take more pride in uttering those last 2 sentences in my texts than anything else.

Well, this was not an opinion boys and girls.

Now smile and go on with your day!

Freeman. B

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