Almost a year ago, I graduated from college and what a year it has been! If you would have told me a year ago that I would be living in Minneapolis, I probably would have given you a strange look. The past 365 days have taught me about life, its ups and downs and, most importantly, about change. Life does not always go as planned and that’s okay. Sometimes things don’t turn out too great but you learn important lessons. Sometimes it turns out even better than you could have imagined. The important thing to remember though, through the highs and lows, the dusks and dawns, the beginnings and endings, is to live life to its fullest.
This past week has been a great example of this. With the bombing at the Boston Marathon and the explosion at the West, Texas fertilizer plant, we have yet again have been reminded about the frailty of life. Just as last year’s shootings in the Newtown, Connecticut schoolhouse and the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado taught us, this past week has painted a grim image of how easily life can be taken away. Subtly, behind every horrific image flashing across our television screens and every morbid headline, the idea was broadcast that this life is short and can easily be taken from us at any moment.
My goal, my plan, my passion for this life is to live and live to the very fullest. I want to travel, take risks, meet people whose beliefs are different from my own, serve people, make a difference and really get my hands dirty. I want to live and live abundantly. This doesn’t always have to be in the form of grandeur or equate to glitz and glam. This life is full of big moments and little ones that should be as equally embraced.
I want to travel to Africa someday but I also want to remember to take frequent trips to visit my brother in Nashville and my family in Detroit, Tulsa and Atlanta. I want to serve at a national non-profit for young girls but I also want to volunteer at the Humane Society and walk dogs on weekends. I want to go to the Academy Awards someday but I also want to have movie nights with my roommate on Fridays. I want to eat at the finest restaurants in Italy, France and England but I also want to remember to take the time to chop, cut, bake, blend and use my own hands to make a meal. I want to travel the world but always come home for the holidays. I want to taste all different kinds of wines but never forget my Sunday cup of tea. I want to keep up to date with what’s happening in the world through social media but never forget a friend’s birthday card or phone call. I want to cherish every hug, every tear, every smile and every dance this life takes me on.
I want to live. When I look back on my life someday, I’d like to know that I tried. I put my best foot forward at loving others and pursuing my dreams even when it got hard. I want a head full of gray hair, a face full of laugh lines and a bunch of grandchildren sitting around me because these are the signs of a life well lived. I want to push myself to never give up on this life, to continuously forgive others as well as myself, to be open to change and to keep living. I challenge you to do the same.
“Until my moment comes, I’ll say I did it all.
I owned every second that this world could give.
I saw so many places, the things that I did.
With every broken bone, I swear I lived.”