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Brittney Harrison

Risk or regret? 

You know, I think Forrest Gump had the right idea. Life really IS like a box of chocolates, isn’t it? It’s random and unpredictable, and you never know what you’re going to get. Some days are a delicious chocolate truffle, or have a gooey, caramel center – others look as ordinary as the rest, until you bite into them and get stuck with a disgusting pink filling. Not knowing is part of the fun…most of the time. 

So far, 2017 has mostly consisted of “truffle” days, with only a few gross ones thrown in…and for that, I’m beyond thankful. Some loved ones around me haven’t been so lucky, and I’ve experienced some tragic times with them as they’ve come and gone. I’ve sadly been forced to think a lot about life and death in these past few months. It’s begun to make me wonder about human instinct and how people react to big life changes, such as tragedy and loss.

When someone passes away, what goes through your mind? Normally, as you experience the initial stages of shock and grief, you find yourself thinking about what could have been. You think about words that were left unsaid, and all the things you wish you would have done more of. You have that overwhelmingly REAL feeling – like for a second, life isn’t just some game we’re stuck playing…and it’s suddenly more serious than you ever realized. Nothing else matters. Everything stops, and for a moment, the world stands still. You swear that you’re going to be different from now on. You’re going to be better, do better, and take advantage of every second you’re given. Then, as time goes by and the mourning process begins to cease, you slip back into your old ways. Everything returns to normal and you forget every little promise you made while your world was shattering. I don’t believe this is wrong. In fact, I think it’s normal…because i think it’s natural to take life for granted. We wake up, we live out our days, we go to sleep, and we do it all over again. Its just what we’re supposed to do, right? It’s only sudden changes in our ordinary routines that make us question it all. Because whether it’s a close family member or a friend of your co-workers second cousins boss…death changes things. It makes you think. 

Life is short – too short. I do my best to remind myself of that every day, and I think it’s important for others to do the same. I know you’ve all probably read your fair share of enlightening quotes such as:

  • Don’t take life for granted.
  • Tomorrow isn’t always promised.
  • Live every day like it’s your last.
  • You only live once (YOLO! – my personal favorite.)

….just to name a few you’ve never heard of. But as often as we hear these being used, are we actually listening to their meaning? We get one shot at this, and after being reminded of how quickly our time can run out, I’m determined to give it my all. 

So, how do you do that? Well…I think you make the conscious choice to embrace life, and everything that comes along with it. You live for YOU and your happiness. You love the people around you and be the best possible version of yourself. You face your days head on, and take the bad with the good. You make the most of everything that comes your way, and you live for the ones who no longer can.

While at a funeral recently, a thought occurred to me. I know I sound super morbid right now, but there’s a point to this story…I swear! Anyway, I was struck by the fact that when we go…whether it be next week or 50 years from now…we can’t take anything with us. Your phone, your expensive things, your social media followers – nothing. All the pointless stuff that might matter to you now, will mean absolutely nothing one day. What really matters is what you leave behind – your legacy and the person you chose to be in this world; the impact on the lives you’ve touched. In the end, it won’t matter how much weight I lost or the price of my outfit – only that I was kind to everyone I came across, and I loved people with my whole heart.

Try to make a promise to yourself today. Pick something you’re going to change… something that will allow you to embrace this wonderful life with open arms…and then stick with it.

Stop fighting about things that don’t matter. Stop caring about what other people think of you. Eat what you want, when you want. Take risks. Treat yourself. Face your fears. Learn something new. Travel – see everything. Dream big, and then dream bigger. Laugh every chance you get. Be kind to everyone you meet. Open up your heart. Appreciate  every single pleasure the universe gives to you, big or small. Wake up every morning and make the choice to not only get through life, but to enjoy it every single step of the way – pink filling and all.

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