This I Believe

Mitchell - Richmond, Kentucky
Entered on December 5, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: carpe diem, death

I first began believing in the concept of carpe diem about a year and a half ago. I was on duty at my firehouse. We were dispatched to aid an EMS unit in moving a patient. We were advised that the woman who needed to be transported to the hospital was in the late stages of cancer. The tumor itself was very large, and probably doubled the woman’s body weight. She wanted to be moved to a hospital because she believed it would be more comfortable. When we arrived I began listening to a conversation between her and the medic. The woman informed the medic that her doctor had given her about twenty four more hours to live. The medic then replied “I’m sorry to hear that”, after which the woman said one of the most profound things I have heard in my life. She told the medic: “Don’t sweat it honey, it was a good ride”. The woman, who was at deaths door, still had a sense of humor, and was able to look back on her life and be happy with it. I ended up going to the hospital on the ambulance to assist with moving the woman, and was able to talk to the woman on the way. I cannot recall too much of the conversation, but I complimented her on her bravery. She told me about how she had raised three children, two of which served their country overseas and one whom became a lawyer. She told me it was her dream to raise children. The conversation made me realize that I had to at least make an attempt to get the things I want out of life, and to appreciate life because it will someday end. I found out that the woman had passed away about five hours later, surrounded by her family.

“Carpe diem” is a Latin phrase that can be translated several ways; however most people interpret it as “seize the moment”. None of us know what will happen tomorrow, so it is important to live life to the fullest every day. When I think of carpe diem, I don’t think of living my life care-free or recklessly, instead I try to accomplish my goals, therefore when it is time for me to pass on I will know I got what I wanted out of my life. Carpe diem is more than just a lifestyle; it is a way to appreciate the life that God has given us. We should always prepare ourselves for the future, but we also need not concentrate only on the future. Seizing the moment to me means that everyone should take the time to have fun and enjoy life and although life can sometimes be overwhelming and troublesome we can always step back and realize that being here tomorrow, or even an hour or minute from now is not guarantied.