This I Believe

Lindsay - Hinsdale, Illinois
Entered on April 28, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

The Gift of Life

I believe that each day is a gift. The existence of today guarantees nothing of tomorrow. For that reason, I live each day as it is handed to me, knowing that it may be my last. I first understood this concept when I lost my mother to a continuous struggle against Diabetes in July of 2002, in which, toward the end of her efforts to win her battle, we were informed of her maximum life expectancy of one short week. My mother, a true inspiration to me, taught me to accept each day openly and live it as my last; rage against the dieing of the light. Her passing helped me to understand the philosophy by which she lived; this I believe: “Dream as though you’ll live forever; live as though you’ll die today” (James Dean). As she explained to me, living by this philosophy meant one thing: live hard.

I was just sixteen when my mother passed away. Because of that, I found it difficult to be as thankful for life as my mother had once been. Over time, I began to lose faith in any higher power because, to me, it seemed impractical to move from one day to the next, thinking each passing hour was a gift. I began to, on a routine basis, find myself stuck in my memories of past times, times I spent growing up in my mother’s arms, questioning whether or not each day was still considered a gift if people continuously mourned the loss(es) of those they loved…can someone truly be happy if s/he constantly worries about losing what they have? I realized, however, that staying in the past not only prevented me from living each day to the fullest, but inhibited my ability to live as happily as my mother had.

My mother’s passing helped me to understand the value of each day I am given; recognize each as a gift, and accept it openly. I learned, as she did, to discover myself through my past experiences. Living hard has taught me to fight for what I believe in, stand up for what I represent, and encourage others to stand alone and rage against the dieing of the light. Had I not lost my mother at such a critical age, I do not think I would have understood many of the experiences I have survived since, simply because the knowledge needed to surpass them is not innate, but learned over time. I was, in a sense, lucky enough to learn what it means to live hard before my daily occurrences began to affect my life in the ways they do with age.

My mother’s life philosophy helped to shape my outlook on life, in that I would never have learned to live each day as I currently do without first understanding the depth behind the meaning of her life. I have learned, because of this, to live hard through each day I am given. Living as my mother did, I now understand that with whatever happens next, whether it be in the near or distant future what it means to live hard. I now know what it means to rage against the dieing of the light.