This I Believe

Meryl - Phoenix, Arizona
Entered on September 4, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: carpe diem
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I have been the queen of non-profits for much of my professional career. I have been fortunate to work on projects that have helped to promote education, disability issues and cultural organizations. I believe working on positive projects focused toward change and in support of life long learning help to enhance our world. Every little bit helps.

While I was working for a local arts organization, I had the pleasure of meeting an inspirational woman. She had traveled the world, was passionate about education, and lead by example. We worked together on a project and she left for a short time to vacation with her family. She did not return after her trip but she was a volunteer, so I thought perhaps she had other obligations that were keeping her busy. But I was wrong, she had been struck ill by a virus on her trip and it lead to her death in less than two weeks of contracting it.

So… a vibrant and exciting woman took a vacation and died. Her death was a reminder of how quickly life changes. I recognize that many tragedies occur every day and peoples’ lives change instantly but for me this situation impacted me personally. Throughout my life, I had lived by the motto of “life is not a dress rehearsal”, but this situation brought it home dramatically.

When I heard she died, I decided I wanted to do something I always wanted to try but kept saving it for “someday”. I decided to become a blonde. I always wanted to know what it would feel like to be looked at because of my hair color. Well…that is just what happened, people looked at my hair and no longer saw me. It did not have the desired affect, but I did try it and I could now cross that off my “to do someday” list. This woman’s unexpected death helped me to realize that I had spent a lot of my life waiting for “some days”. I might not have taken the chance and colored my hair if this woman had not died. It may seem silly, focusing on a superficial change like hair color but it was something I always said I wanted to do…but never did it, always waiting for “someday”.

That is what I learned from this woman’s tragically short life…don’t wait for someday…there is no way to know how many some days you will have, this is what I believe. Life is not a dress rehearsal, it must be engaged directly…you may run out of some days…What are you waiting for?