It’s crazy to think that life can drastically change over night. Even then that is stretching it because we all know that a world can flip upside down in a matter of seconds. One minute you’re in line to get coffee and the next you have totaled your car because the bitter taste of your coffee distracted you from the brake lights in front of you. At 1 PM on a Wednesday you can be sitting in class learning about politics and the race to be better than China, and at 2 PM on the same day — your significant other is texting you saying: we need to talk.
On the other hand, you have moments that when you look back it seems like it happened in a split second but in real time, it all moved so slow. One minute you have the worst headache of your life, but the doctors are calling it a sinus headache and telling you to walk it off. As if that’s even possible. Six months later, your arm is hanging a little lower to the left and lighting a cigarette becomes a task you can no longer handle. But still, what’s the problem? A few weeks later, you have a doctors appointment and they are telling you it might be Alzheimers, maybe even Dementia. A few days later, it’s a tumor. Another few weeks later it’s cancer. And another few weeks later, well your son is shaving your face to get you cleaned up. Your wife is smoking a cigarette on the balcony wondering where time has gone and the lady working for hospice is thinking about what she is going to have for dinner. But in this moment, it all feels like it’s just happening so fast.
It’s very rare for people to wake up one day and just decide to do something. Sometimes we need a little push but most of the time, we wake up and realize the things we haven’t done once we see someone living out the rest of their days. Less than five feet away from me, my grandfather is laying in a bed brought to him from hospice. He has tubes in his nose that are providing him oxygen and speaking is not really an option for him anymore. We are all gathered here just sort of waiting and watching him. We are holding his hand, telling him we love him, and cracking jokes in hopes that somewhere deep down he can muster up a laugh, even if we can’t hear it. It’s in this moment that I am more sure than I have ever been that although he is on the verge of 80 years old, life is still so seemingly short. And when you are here in the rest of your days, what is it that you are going to be proud of? I know my grandfather has done more than I even know. He raised two sons and two beautiful daughters, he worked his ass off, and made sure his grandkids were happy at all times — teaching us that blue bell ice cream was indeed the holy grail. He spoke Spanish like a native, and married the love of his life. He served his country and so much more. He served the community and church, until he could no longer. So do I think he is happy with everything he has done? I sure hope so. But what about the rest of us?
It’s morbid to say “if I were to die tomorrow…” but sometimes that is the wake up call we all need. Something could happen tomorrow and something could happen sixty years from now. However, each of those two things provides us with the same message: live your damn life. Go on the trip, fall in love, move to the city of your dreams, road trip with someone you hardly know, and read a million books if you can. Whether your time comes tomorrow or it comes at a later date, don’t you want to be able to say that you did everything you possibly could have to take advantage of this life that you were given?