I’m going to tell you something that all of us have heard countless times before.

But if the truth be told, we can never really hear it enough, for it is so very important. It is a life-changer in more ways than one.

Here is it then: Savor every single moment of life. Don’t waste any of it. It is the most precious thing we have, and it can end anytime, anywhere and for any reason, whether we’re ready for it or not. And we’re usually not ready for it.

The impetus for this reminder was the shocking, untimely death of noted pro football writer Don Banks on Sunday in a local hotel room while he was in town to cover the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

He was 56 and seemingly in perfect health, then he wasn’t.

Those who follow the NFL know of Banks and his work, He was one of the best. Plus, he was a great guy who, despite being a national reporter, would never “big-time” the local writers from each of the NFL cities. It takes a class act to do that, and Banks was definitely that.

But you don’t have to know of Banks, or even like football, let alone the NFL, to appreciate the significance of his death.

When someone dies suddenly, without any warning and at a way-too-young age, it makes all of us pause and reflect. It forces us to look at where we’re at in our lives, where we’ve been and where we’re headed. We are pressed to look at what’s important – what’s really, truly important.

If you’re a sportswriter like Banks, it’s not the stories you’re writing, have written or plan to write.

If you’re a carpenter, it’s not what you’re building.

If you’re a salesperson, it’s not whether or not you’ve made your quota for the month.

If you’re a teacher, it’s not following your lesson plan.

If you own your own business, whatever that business is, it’s not if you are in the black.

If you’re a chef, it’s not if you’ve made the perfect meal.

But it’s not what – or who, as it were – is most important. You’re never going to be remembered for being successful in your professional endeavors, or accumulating stuff. It’s just stuff.

You’re loved ones – your family members and friends – are No. 1 on the importance list. Your job is loving them, telling them and showing them how much you adore them, care for them and cherish them.

You can’t say to them, “I love you,” too many times. They can’t hear it too many times.

Don’t hold back. Don’t risk leaving this earth and heading off to the hereafter, whatever you deem the hereafter to be, without pouring your heart out, emptying all the good – the good and loving thoughts inside of you, in your brain, your heart and/or your soul – into those closest to you so there is no doubt of your love.

For we never know when the end will come and those opportunities will go away forever. And forever is a long time to have any regrets.

The death of Don Banks – right here in our back yard – drove that home to us again, just as the next untimely death will.

We all know that, but will we listen? Will we heed the warning? Will we have a sense of urgency?

Will we treat loving as our real meal ticket?

Only you can answer that. Let’s hope you answer it correctly, to your benefit. Your life depends on it, you know.