Because Living Ain’t A Forever Thing

I am writing this in the hospital library because living ain’t a forever thing.

Last night I got some difficult news about someone I hold near and dear to my heart. The news left me gasping for air, with tears falling like hail, leaving my eyes puffy and sore. It was a powerful reminder that I cannot wait for the mood swings to pass, for inspiration to strike, for a rush of happiness to spark my creativity. I must write, I must write more than ever before, because I don’t want my life to reach its final moment with all of these untold stories in me.

For now, my friend is recovering. Their spirit seems high and they are surrounded by love and light. Of course, the road ahead is going to bring its challenges, difficulties, and grief. But it’s a road they will not travel alone, but with all of us who love them deeply.

I think about the times I’d want to see my friend but our careers often had us literally traveling in opposite directions. I think we often do not want to think about death, so we always say, “Tomorrow is a new day, another chance to do what I didn’t do yesterday.” That kind of logic is dangerous. It leads us to procrastinate, to prioritize work over the relationships with the people we love. We get caught up in our to-do lists and not invested in holding space with the people who matter most to us.

The past two weeks have been exciting weeks in my life, birthday celebrations, graduation, reaching my dance company’s fundraising goals, and in the midst of the celebration, I was reminded of my morality. Some day my time will come to an end and I will have regretted not finishing that book. Not calling that friend. Not making amends with the man who made my existence possible. I would have been mad at myself for not forgiving myself and those who have caused me pain.

Living ain’t a forever thing so it is something we must dare to do daily, not just to be alive but to actually LIVE to the fullest. It is so easy to allow ourselves to go on cruise control, to coast by our lives and follow the daily routines we’ve established for ourselves. But I don’t just want to be alive anymore, I want to LIVE in the moment, in the now, I want to love with my whole heart and make peace with those who are no longer in my life. I want to show more empathy and compassion. I want to smile more. I want to do more acts of kindness. I want to make more of a difference while I can.

They say I am young, that I have my whole life ahead of me to accomplish all of these goals of mine, to find a partner, etc, but living ain’t a forever thing and if I keep coasting by, I will look back at my life in moments that shake us to our core, and regret not living a fuller life.

In her book, What I Know For Sure, Oprah Winfrey writes, “It’s a decision you make: to pursue what you were called here to do and not just meander through your days…what you do today creates every tomorrow.” So today make it a point to love people more and let them know you appreciate having them in your life because living ain’t a forever thing and we have to make sure we make the most of every day.