31 05 2004

I wonder how often people think about how easy it is to die. I just thoguht of this because a person close to me related a story about how he received a call at work. The person who called him said that something he ordered wouldn’t be to him on time due to an accident. When my friend pressed further, the person said that the accident was due to the order my friend had placed, and that the heavy equipemt ordered had fallen and crushed the worker.

My friend spoke to me and a group of others about how he felt somewhat responsible for the death, even though he was so far removed from the situation. This brings up the tangent of the chain reaction, but I digress.

Death comes in many fashions. It comes with the slow as molasses deterioration that comes with aging, as many of us are so familiar with. Aging can mean Alzheimer’s, dementia, organ problems and a myriad of other things. Death comes both quickly and slowly through disease, rarely discriminate. It comes through tragic accidents. It comes in war. It comes whether we’re ready for it or not.

It’s all around us, too. Aside from that death, I just discovered that the newborn nephew of a friend’s friend died and that a dementia-stricken mother of one of my dad’s best friends has died in the last few days. Death certainly doesn’t bother with age. So I wonder to myself, am I ready for it?

Seeing the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind made me think about my life. Am I living it the way I want so that if I died today, I’d be happy? Perhaps not. I think about all the things I’ve done to people, for them, and because of them. Were they the right things to do? Did I leave a greater amount of good or bad in the world up until this point in my life?

Did I take advantage of all my opporunties? Have I followed thorough on the phrase Carpe Diem? Certainly not. There are numerous things I wish to do before I die and wish to do day by day. I want to travel, to love and be loved more. I want to learn to dance for once or dance on impulse without fear of appearances! I don’t want to be popular, I want to be genuinely loved and to love back. I want people to know I care because I show that I care. I want to listen to people and not to just wait for my turn to talk.

I want to tell everyone exactly how I feel about them. Not just girls I think I could love, either. When was the last time I hugged my parents and said, “I love you! Thanks for everything you guys have done for me these past twenty years!”? I don’t remember. It’s something I feel but rarely express. I have acquaintances that mean nothing to me and friends that mean everything to me. Why can’t I say what I should without being drunk or thinking I’ll sound corny? Why can’t I tell a girl I know (or one I just met, for that matter) what she means to me? Will I regret not doing these things before death comes?

Yes, full circle to death again. Dwelling on one’s death for one’s entire life leads one to neglect life in all its beauty and entirety. I think what I’ve learned in the course of writing this is that you have to know that death may be around the corner or up the street or even where the sidewalk ends and that that simple fact makes life all the more worth it.

To all the friends I care for because they’re caring, thanks. Particularly, thanks Davey, Chesla, Meghan, Beth, Ashley, Jess, Melissa, Melby, Nate, James Forwood (thanks for the serice to the USA, too), and Katie B. You guys mean a lot to me, and the lengths you’re willing to go to to be friends are amazing.

I couldn’t love you more Mom, Dad, and Kates. Thanks for your help getting through life’s toughest hurdles. I think the only reason I’ve had such a smooth ride is due to my parents (and maybe that ’76 Fleetwood, too.) Thanks Grandma and Grandpa, Jess Arnett, Terry and Nancy, Anne and Charles, Chris, Jen, and Conner, Uncle Jim and Jane, Patty, Toni, Susie, and Maureen, Mona, Max and Kristy, Dan and Sarah. I’ve been taught so much by you, and I hope to learn more.

To whomever reads this: Count your blessings and think about those who love you and have gotten you as far as they have in life. I did it (literally) and found way more than I thought I could.