When 2016 comes to a close I will be 49 years old. When did this happen? I still think of myself as the 20 something girl, although my reflection in the mirror would disagree. We often hear ‘time flies’ or ‘life is short.’ We nod in agreement when we hear it. But do we listen? I mean really listen.
Recently a friend from my high school years passed away. His death was not drug related nor a freak accident. It was a heart attack. A seemingly healthy 48-year-old man passed away from a heart attack. We hear these stories all the time but it never really sinks in until it’s someone you know and love. This man was as iconic to our graduating class as Prince was to the 80’s. He was a man who always had a smile on his face and lived life to the fullest each and every day. He will be missed by so many.
When we lose someone close to us we stop and reflect on how we are living our own lives. We promise to make changes in ourselves. But as time passes we fall back into our old habits and routines. We go back to living life status quo. Our days are filled with work, errands, bills, yard and house work, screen time and more. We quickly begin to forget the life lessons we learned from death. Why? Because life goes on.
As I sat in the pew hearing words of sorrow, remembrance and encouragement, I promised myself I would not let those valuable messages wash away into the sea we call life. I will reflect on their words and make changes. Real changes. I want to make an effort to actually live in the moment. Take each day as an opportunity. Yes, life goes on. But we can move forward with a better understanding of how we want our days filled. I once read that we don’t remember days but we remember moments. I want those moments to be full of loving memories.
The next time you hear a quote about life take a moment and really hear the message. How would that message resonate if you lost your spouse, child, parent, friend or coworker? What would you change about your life today? We don’t need to wait to lose someone special to make today better. We need the desire, passion and commitment to actually live each day as if it were our last.
Spending time with the ones you love or doing what you love is the key. For me, it will be as simple as accepting last minute invitations. Invitations that may have been previously turned down because the house was a mess or we were just too tired. I encourage you to accept those invites, too! Your mess isn’t going anywhere. We all know how life can get in the way of quality time with your spouse. My husband and I recently made it a priority to “schedule” our date nights. I know this sounds so simple and maybe even a little silly, but relationships take effort. Even friendships take effort. My friendships, old and new, are very important to me. So, like date night, I am scheduling ‘friend dates.’ It’s a great opportunity to reminisce and reconnect with your friends. These are the moments I want to fill my days with. Moments I will cherish forever.
Although the passing of a classmate and old friend has showered so many in grief, I am hoping we remember the message from that day. As I sit and purge my thoughts I am reminded of the movie “Dead Poets Society.” My husband and I love this movie. We love it so much that when we were married we had his ring inscribed with the words “Carpe Diem.” So, today I encourage you to seize your day! You never know what tomorrow holds.