Wake Up

Erik - Springfield, Virginia
Entered on April 28, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: carpe diem, death

Wake Up

Live each day to the fullest, as if it were the last. I learned early on the concept of “Carpe Diem”, a Latin phrase which means to “seize the day”. Growing up my parents taught me never to think naively that there would always be time. Whether that is time to rekindle a relationship, go after goals, or just spend time with loved ones. Make each moment count. I tried to live my life from the start in that light, but never truly understood the brutal truth that tomorrow may never come.

As young adults we live under the illusion that we are immortal. Nothing can harm us as we conquer our dreams and become the future of tomorrow. I believe that with this attitude it is impossible to understand and live each day to the fullest. Every person eventually needs a slap across the face, a wake up call, to let us know that we are in fact mortal. While I thought I understood this concept, I did not truly wake up until my senior year of high school.

I was on top of the world, with college around the corner, and my future ahead of me. I was immortal. My friend, a year older than me, had been in my class the year before. He was the kind of person that everyone could relate to, that everyone liked. He was a great guy, and an extremely talented musician. In all honesty he could very well have been the next Mozart, guitar hero, or singing legend. In the spring of my senior year, he had a car accident, and was killed. This young kid, my age, with a future and life ahead of him, lost it all in a fraction of a second.

Slap in the face. Punch in the gut. I woke up. His death made me truly realize for the first time why it is important to seize each day. I climbed down off my immortal podium and finally understood what my parents had stressed all my life. Live each day to the fullest.

No one is perfect. There will always be lose ends in life. However, today, I try my best to cherish each moment of life; for I now know from experience, that no matter whom you are, any moment could be the last. In the past, I used to be careless with my words. I woke up angry and would leave the house each morning yelling at my parents. I was rude. I was a teenager. After my friend’s accident, my life changed. I live with no regrets, and follow what I learned so long ago. Never leave words unsaid, actions regretted, or quality time unspent. Wake up each morning ready to face the day head on. I believe that each person must receive their own wake up call, for until they do, it will be impossible for them to understand the true meaning of carpe diem.

It took me eighteen years…