Seize the Day

Katherine - Wichita, Kansas
Entered on August 7, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: carpe diem
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I believe life is short and you’ll never know when it’s going to end; you could be alive one minute, and dead the next. I believe that we should all live life to the fullest and not hold back. I believe in the Latin term carpe diem, or to seize the day.

The first time I heard that phrase was when I was watching a Gilmore Girls episode on TV. It was the Life and Death Brigade’s (a fictional secret society) motto, and I was immediately hooked on the phrase. The Life and Death Brigade in the show, was about a bunch of college students living up to their motto by pulling crazy stunts such as bungee jumping with an umbrella. I though it was pretty cool to be in a secret society where all you do is party and have fun, but I didn’t think about it too much. I just told myself that it’s just a bunch of fictional rich kids spending their parents’ money on wild parties and stunts and I totally forgot about the term carpe diem. But, soon, the early and unexpected death was of my own uncle, made me rethink about the term and the secret society.

My uncle was fifty-three at the time of his death but he looked and was as healthy as a forty-year-old man. My family had visited him in Vietnam the very summer that he died, about one month before, and we became his guests for three weeks. My uncle was a very happy and cheerful man and I loved him the very moment I met him.

Unfortunately, a couple of weeks after we departed from Vietnam, my uncle fell ill with meningitis and died in the hospital a few weeks later. I remember the exact day that he died…it was the first day of school. I let myself in the house, ready to tell my mom about the perfect first day of school, but instead I was greeted with sobs and “Your uncle died.” Everyone in my family was devastated, especially my mom who kept on saying, and still does, “He was so healthy when we last saw him; how does someone die that quickly?”

Ever since then, I learned and admired that those college students didn’t waste one minute of their lives and filled it with thrill and excitement. I admired how they took advantage of their youth and didn’t waste it spending Saturday evenings at home watching movies. But most importantly, I remembered and admired the phrase carpe diem.

I now believe in not wasting a minute of life. I believe in spending life having fun with family and friends because one day, I or they might not be here to celebrate the joy of living. I believe in carpe diem. I want to seize the day.

As the actor James Dean once said, “Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.”

Seize the day.