I often think about the day that I die. I don’t think about this day in fear, but as the day that I have lived my whole life for, the day that will determine if my life was one well lived. The idea that death can just happen, unexpectedly, without any warning, I believe is what gives life its purpose. We must always be prepared to say that how we lived our life was exactly how we wanted it. What I consider life is not just moments that we are proud of, not just moments that we cherish, but life is the moments that we lived, breathed, remembered, regretted and have forgotten, all together.
In my short twenty years of life I have been given more than I have needed, been loved more than I could have ever imagined, and had more opportunities than I could have asked for. I understand that what life has thrown my way has allowed me to live an extremely privileged life. I have often wondered, why me, why am I so fortunate? At times I have even felt guilty.
I have come to realize that the circumstances under which we are born are not under anyone’s control. I have learned that I should not feel guilty because I have lived a life full of love and opportunities, but instead, love the way I have been loved and share what I have learned through these opportunities, every moment that I live.
At the age of twelve, the first time I had ever been to Guatemala, I remember seeing other girls around my age with their babies strapped to their backs. This was their reality. At a young age, it was hard reality to grasp, but I remember asking myself “Why isn’t that me?” I had an understanding that not everyone’s life was the same as mine and for no reason was I given the life that I had. I believe that I learned what it was like to truly feel another’s experiences, before I even knew that there was a word to describe it, empathy.
What is amazing to me is that we all have our own experiences, our own lives and our own challenges that we must overcome. How we choose to react to these challenges determines how we live our lives. No matter what privileges we have or haven’t had, we are all faced with challenges that we can learn from and share with others. By listening to others, seeing their experience and feeling their emotions, we can all learn what true empathy is.
I now wake up every morning searching for ways to do what I love. I love people, I love learning from other’s experiences and I love sharing mine. For this reason, I think so often about the day that I die. The day that I die is the day that I can no longer do what I love. I can no longer share, I can no longer live and I can no longer listen to others. The day that I die is the day I begin to rely on how I loved, what I shared and what I had done. If that day happened to be tomorrow, I would be prepared to say that how I lived my life was exactly how I wanted it.