This I Believe

Michael - Youngstown, Ohio
Entered on May 3, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: carpe diem, death

Live It Up

The only inevitable fact of life is, sooner or later everyone will die. Death is the only event that we as living breathing life forms can count on. Friends, enemies and complete strangers will all, at some point, die. I have had to cope with the deaths of many relatives and friends; some of whom were taken well before their time on earth was complete. These deaths have stricken me with pain and sorrow to the very core of my being, but, like a bright light at the end of the dark tunnel, I have acquired a valuable lesson from the sadness and grief of death. I have learned that life is extremely short, therefore whining, worrying, and complaining are useless wastes of time. I believe in living every day as if it is my last.

Four years ago, I was told that one of my cousins had cancer. He was only fifty-four at the time. This was, of course, terrible news, which was worsened when my mother told me doctors had only given him anywhere from six months to one year to live. The news hit hard. Up until then I was just a normal kid not worrying about death because, as a teenager, I was invincible. Life would seem greatly tedious at times and at other times would be tremendous fun. My first thought on my cousin’s cancer was that modern medicine could cure it, but, sadly, this was not true. This was harder for me than any other death because it was untimely, to say the least. People are not supposed to die until they are old and gray. The only thing that helped me deal with this sad news was my cousin’s attitude towards his own inevitable death. He was sad at first, but then he quickly began cherishing the remaining moments and days. He was smiling and laughing like he was not worried at all. He viewed his remaining days as time to truly appreciate his friends and family. He stayed optimistic and joyous even though he was greatly suffering. He did not want to have any regrets; he wanted to live his life to its fullest potential.

As if that death was not enough, recently I had to deal with the disturbing news that one of my friends had taken his own life. This was one of the most truly shocking things to ever happen to me. I was stunned; I did not know how to react. The mixture of feelings flooding my mind ranged from sadness to anger. However, in the end, this was a reminder that life is truly precious and I need to realize and appreciate it.

These tragic events in my life led me to truly believe that life is a tremendous gift. I learned not to take life for granted because it could end so quickly. Who knows if I will wake up tomorrow morning? The only way I can truly guarantee a meaningful and regret free life is to live every day as if it were my last.