Life is short. How many times have you heard someone say that? I’m sure many times, as people tend to use the saying often when they want you to do something. How often do you actually heed that advice though? Probably not enough.
I am lucky enough to have friends and family all over the country. While sometimes that makes me sad because I feel like I’m missing out on spending time with these people who I’ve woven into the pages of my story, I’ve learned to appreciate that my story is full of characters. Now, I don’t mean characters as in they are weirdos (even though some of them really are) but I get to know so many different and unique individuals who add variety to my life.
When I was 16, my friend died from a brain tumor. Besides my grandfather, I hadn’t known anyone who had died. I know people say people who have cancer tend to be positive and these bright lights, but this friend of mine truly was. I remember when she would miss school because she was getting radiation treatments she would call to ask how I was and what she missed in class. She hadn’t had the easiest life before cancer, but if you just met her on the street you would have no idea. She cared about everyone immensely and was always so happy. I have a bookmark that she made me when we were in middle school, and I couldn’t tell you where it currently is (it’s in one of my books), but it’s one of those things I think pops up when I need it to remind me to choose to be joyful.
Last Friday, one of my best friends who I have known since my sophomore year in high school, was going to be in Washington D.C, from Arizona. Her and her husband were in town for 2 days, for a wedding. Saturday was the wedding, and Friday was the only free day. I was given the decision of do I drive up for just 1 day, or is it too far? Washington D.C is about a 3.5 hour to about a 5 hour drive from our home depending on traffic (which if you have been to Northern VA.. you know there is ALWAYS traffic). I couldn’t really afford to stay the night so I knew if I went, I was looking at 7-10 hours of driving just to see a friend for a few hours. Many people would say unfortunately it’s a little too far, or a little too much driving, and I can’t make it up. I know that while it would have been a major bummer for all of us, if I said I couldn’t do it no one would have been angry.
However, I thought about it and I realized I have the opportunity to seize the day and see someone I miss in exchange for some hours on the road. My job affords me the flexibility to be able to have day trips like this. I need to go! Unfortunately terrible things can happen in life and who knows when the next time might not be available ever again. I decided against bringing my camera because I wanted to just be a friend visiting a friend, not a business owner taking a documented trip. I photographed some things with my phone, and that was good enough. Sometimes we need to stop worrying about documenting, and just start living.
Choose to be kind, to smile at strangers, to hold open doors, and look at things as opportunities rather than disappointments. Choose to be present in not only your own life, but in others. Choose happiness.
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