This isn’t a typical blog post for me. No laughter. Nothing funny.
I came home from the gym today and read an e-mail my mother had sent me. A kid from my high school, who I knew well in elementary school, died. His car fell ofd a bridge, killing him on the scene.
Death has touched a lot of people I know lately. It seems the older I get, the closer death gets to me. I know I’m pointing out the obvious, that with each passing day we all come one step closer to death. But also the older you get, the more death becomes a real presence in your life. Grandparents and parents grow old and die. Childhood pets grow old and die. Accidents and disease claim the lives of friends. It’s a periodic reminder of your mortality.
Even though I didn’t know this person well after the 7th grade, I still feel touched by his death, if predominantly in a symbolic way. Part of it serves as a reminder, that each day is important and that this is the only life you have to live and that you truly need to take risks and put your neck on the line in order to find happiness. No one is going to come along and make all your dreams come true. You have to do it. And to do it, you often risk failure, embarrassment and scorn from others. You must set priorities, which inevitably leads to certain sacrifices. At times you will lose love, you will miss opportunities, you will be financially poor, you will be lonely. But in the end, you have to ask yourself, was it worth it? Did I lead the life I wanted to? Did I do everything I could to make myself happy? Did I treat people with love and kindness? Did I attempt feel empathy for those that I did not understand? Did I live a vibrant and colorful life, casting off the comfortable chains of monotony and routine?
You get one chance. This is something I try to remind myself daily. When I’m afraid to take the stage, when I wonder if the work I do is worth the sacrifices I’ve already had to make, I try to remind myself that this is the life I want to lead, and I will do what it takes to lead it. Do not let death discourage you. Let it motivate you. And celebrate those that do pass on. If they are old, hopefully their lives served as a model for yours. And if they are young, remember that there is no gauranty on life…so live it.