Choosing My World

The past week has been, well, thought provoking to say the least.

Earlier in the week I learned that a former office mate was killed in a car accident. While I didn’t know him other than as the always smiling Masters student who shared an office with me, his sudden death was a shock. He was 26 years old, and based on our brief exchanges while we shared office 309A together, and based on the things I have read that his friends and family have posted since his death, he was full of life.

Since learning of his death, I have found my thoughts have often wandered to him – wondering how cruel it seemed that his life had been cut so short, wondering what those he left behind must be going through. I have answers for neither of those things. All I know is that his death has struck a chord in me.

That chord – that still raw nerve that had been struck earlier this week – was struck again today.

This morning I learned news of a friend – someone much younger than me – that took my breath away, quite literally. My heart ached and my stomach turned on news of a terminal illness. Again, I wondered how cruel it seemed that someone so young would have to face their mortality in this way. How was this fair? Knowing this person as I do – so full of life, so amazing, so smart, so positive and happy, and gifted with one of the best smiles possible – the kind of smile that beams from every corner of their face – how could I accept this outcome as anything but cruel and wrong?

Obviously there is no rhyme or reason to disease and death. There is no way to accurately predict where and when our time will come. Sure, we can attempt to evade both as long as we can with pills and diet and exercise and even machines, but there are no guarantees, no sure fire solutions, no magic, no last minute pleas with whatever higher power you might believe in. At least, I don’t think there are. But then again, I don’t really know. I’m not sure anyone knows really.

What I do know is this – our time on this earth is limited. It’s not enough to just wake up and go to work and come home, lather, rinse, and repeat. It’s our responsibility to live every day as best as we can. I’m not suggesting that it’s our individual duty to solve all the problems of the world, but I am suggesting – demanding even – that we at least wake each morning with the goal of making our little worlds better. Smile. Help someone. Be kind. Hug your friends. Bear hug your friends. Tell those you love that you love them. Tell them again. And remind yourself that you too are loved and are capable of amazing things.

We can’t control many things in this world, but we can control how we choose to live in it. This week I was very much reminded of that.

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