Living Life to the Fullest

Valerie - Newburgh, Indiana
Entered on November 23, 2005
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: carpe diem
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I believe how a person lives the dash of time between their birth date and death on their tombstone, determines their quality of life. This dash is very little, and is many times overlooked on a tombstone, yet this little line is worth so much.

I was born on April 2, 1987. I do not know what date I will die, but I believe that everyone should enjoy life to the fullest. To live my life to the fullest, I keep in close contact with the people I care about and realize that material possessions will not matter at the end of my life.

Just a few days ago, in the small hours of the morning, a tornado ripped through my hometown. I woke up to what sounded like a freight train coming through my house. Fortunately, all my family came out alive and our house suffered only minor damage. My nearest friends were not as blessed. Less than 100 yards from my house, houses were turned into splinters. Personal belongings were strewn about and became unrecognizable. This tornado opened my eyes and served as a reminder that life can change in a heartbeat.

I believe that it is prudent to recognize the important things in your life. Family has always been a huge component in my life. Since I was a young girl, my mother’s side of the family has gotten together every Friday night for dessert. We gather at one of the sibling’s houses around eight o’clock and hang around while we munch on dessert and talk about our past week. Friday nights allow me to stop focusing on myself and my troubles. I can relax with my aunts, uncles, or play games with my younger cousins, knowing that I can count always count on my family for support anytime.

I believe material possessions are not important. As demonstrated in our community tornado, material possessions can be destroyed in an instant. It does not matter how much we own: the cars, the house, the cash, what matters is how we live and love and how we spend the time of our dash. If we could just slow down long enough to consider what’s true and real and to understand the way other people feel. If only we could be less quick to anger and show more appreciation. If we could love people like we have never loved before. If we treat each other with respect and wear a smile more than a frown. If we could recognize the small things in life, how would our lives change?

Always remember that this special dash might only last a little while. Live in the present moment and have no regrets. Life is a gift that can end at any moment. So now I ask, when your eulogy is being read, with your life’s actions to rehash, will you be proud of the things others say? If not, I encourage you to take the time and energy to change things.