It’s unfortunate, but one of the only things that truly brings the living together is death.
Last week, a student passed away long before his time should’ve come, and he left behind many friends and family members who clearly adored him.
I happened to pass by the Chi Phi fraternity house late Monday evening. I witnessed a large group of students from all different backgrounds holding candles and huddled together within the boundaries of the house’s lawn.
Some were crying, and some were just standing somberly in deep respect. I heard Billy Joel’s “Only the Good Die Young” playing over a few speakers.
The brothers were gathered together on the porch in front of the audience. They all raised their beers to the sky and yelled, “To Edo!”
I’ll certainly admit that just the sight of this made me shed a few tears.
As I continued my walk home, I asked myself if I’m making my life count.
Our days are numbered and yet we still have this false sense of invincibility. I don’t need to say this or do that. I can do that any time. I can do it tomorrow. That person will still be there a year from now.
Why act today?
We’re constantly being told to “live every day like it’s our last.” Although we could repeat this mantra at every moment of our day, only a handful of us are operating at 100 percent.
I suppose it’s true that youth is wasted on the young. If one were to ask an elderly person what they would do, given that they were completely able-bodied, I’m sure they would give you one hell of a hypothetical day.
They’d probably tell you all of the things they would’ve done differently. They would’ve spoken up, acted sooner or worried less.
Consider that you’re on your death bed right this second.
You have 24 hours to tell everyone anything that you’ve ever wanted to tell them. Pride and embarrassment aside, you have to let them know, or else they never will.
Or perhaps someone you deeply care for is on their death bed.
What would you admit to them? What would you thank them for?
Perhaps your last day would consist of a saga of reckless adventures such as sky-diving or bungee-jumping. Maybe you would take a jet to Paris or dive in the ocean one last time.
For me, my life has been defined by my relationships with friends and family.
I’d want my mother to know how much I love her, or my best friend to know how much I care. I’d tell my brothers how much they taught me, and I’d tell my ex-boyfriend that he changed my life for the better.
I’d admit everything that I’ve been keeping bottled up for someone else’s sake, and I’d come clean about who matters and who never did.
I’d want everyone to be at peace when my time came. I’d want to be remembered for who I was rather than just the places I went.
Although I’m sure we’d all like to arrive at our elderly years with countless stories to tell, life isn’t defined by the miles we’ve traveled or the monuments we’ve seen.
It’s more about the lives we’ve touched and the people we’ve helped along the way.
Embrace your youth and health while you can. Look up from your phone and talk to the person next to you. Say you’re sorry when a sorry is due. Say “I love you.” We have these incredible bodies on this beautiful earth and we were never intended to stand idly by.
Go make it count while the clock is still ticking.
Email Courtney Casey at firstname.lastname@example.org