A wise poet once remarked that you should “be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” Say all that you want to say and do all that you can possibly do because, as cliché as it may sound, tomorrow is never guaranteed. We are human beings with ticking, dwindling hourglasses looming above our heads, ready to explode, and you owe yourself the right to experience as much of life as you can possibly absorb.
Laugh as much as you can. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Forgive, because shit happens. Take chances when opportunities arise. Most importantly of all, tell the people you love how they amazing they are and how blessed you for crossing paths with them.
Regret is one of the most striking emotions in the affective spectrum. People everyday reflect on something they do or, more commonly, not do and are often haunted by suffocating thoughts of “what if I had done this” or “how different would life be if xyz happened”. You play out tens to hundreds of scenarios in your head, wanting to bang your head in confusion and frustration because you realize that no matter what you do, you can’t change the past. One of the most prevailing instances of regret is in death. When a person dies, it’s common for someone to think to him or herself “why didn’t I tell [person] this?” or “I shouldn’t have said that to him”. One day in my Driver’s Education class, this woman told us a story about her son, who had recently passed in car accident. She told me how the last conversation she had with her son was a heated argument where she said things she didn’t mean and wouldn’t even say “I love you”. A few hours later, he was gone, but every day, the regret tortured her - she would never have an opportunity to say “sorry” or “I love you” or “I miss you”. And in that moment, my outlook in life just changed.
A person should not be dead or on his or her deathbed for you to realize how important he or she is to you. I think people often forget that being able to live every day is a blessing and thus, take their lives and each other for granted. Today, I approach life by always thinking: if this is my last conversation with this person, would I be satisfied with it? Does this person know what I truly think of him or her? All of these answers should be yes, because life is truly just too short to be quiet, sit idly, and allow everybody and everything to come and go.
I hope you read this with an open-mind, and I hope you hug your family tight, tell your friends how much you love them, hold your lovers warmly and kiss them passionately, and cherish every fleeting moment for the rest of our ephemeral lives.
I love you so, so much, mom.