Welcoming Death With Open Arms

For the last eleven years, the driving force in the reason why I live the way I do is being aware that one day I will die, and so will everyone in my life. Death is a scary thing to think about and the reality that our time on this earth will one day end is a thought most people tend to avoid. It's fucking heartbreaking to think my parents, my siblings, the rest of my family, my closest friends, and even I, myself, won't be here one day. I’ve unfortunately been to plenty of funerals in my life, but nothing shattered my heart more than when I lost my boyfriend at the age of 16.

Losing someone you love is the absolute worst feeling in the world. You wake up every morning hoping it was a bad dream, then reality hits. Your heart sinks and it feels as if a part of you was ripped out of your chest and you can’t ever get it back. Words of wisdom, hugs, hanging out with friends and family, and keeping yourself preoccupied can only help so much, but really, only time heals this wound. And time eventually did heal me and molded me into the person I am. It was one of the darkest times of my life, but man, how dark times can change you for the better. I am absolutely in love with life because I’m aware of how precious it is and how it can be taken away from you or anyone you love in an instant.

When you learn how to face the reality of death, you learn how to let go of insignificant things that won’t matter in the long run. I know of too many people that hold petty grudges, waste time in a job they hate, waste time in unhappy relationships, put their dreams/goals to the side to follow the crowd, lose contact and stop putting effort into relationships because they think they’ll always be there, are unappreciative of the simple but freakin’ amazing things they’re blessed with (like people that love you, a sip of clean water, clothes on your back, etc!), treat people poorly or talk down on people--I can go on and on. All of these things are a complete, absolute, flat out, utter WASTE of your time. I know sometimes it takes a life-changing occurrence to happen for people to change, but if you can help it, do not wait for that moment to realize how awesome this life can be, how you can be a light to others in a world full of hate and darkness, and how time will fucking FLY BY without you realizing it.

Losing a loved one will always be hard, but knowing they lived a great life always gives at least some comfort when they pass on, and the same should be said for you. Everyone dies, but not everyone makes an effort to enjoy this one life they’re given. A lot of people settle. A lot of people do what society tells them to do or how to act. A lot of people are afraid of stepping outside of their comfort zone. My mindset is that I’m going to die anyways, so why not do what I love and what makes me happy? Even if it means going against the norm, being afraid of trying new things, making mistakes and failing and being rejected, getting hurt, all the negative things people fear. I would rather take the risk of getting hurt than not living at all. My BEST experiences and life lessons were learned after putting myself out there and taking chances, saying yes often, and not limiting myself.

“We avoid risks in life to make it safely to death.”

We live in a generation where people act like they're emotionless. It's okay to be excited about things, to act like yourself, to feel butterflies about lame stuff, to love even if you’ve been hurt, to laugh a little too loud, to offer your heart out to the world, to voice your opinion, to be the one positive person in a room of negatives, to try things that scare you, and to be different from everyone else. One day you'll die, but your story and the impact you leave on others don't have to, so what are you going to leave behind? How will you make your life count today?

Marie

Marie is an aspiring travel and landscape photographer, frequent hiker, and works a full-time office job but is constantly daydreaming of being on the road/outdoors. She loves introducing adventure to those around her by regularly planning hikes and trips. Her dream is to travel the world for one year in 2017.