Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Pricelessness of Life

I am sorry I do not have any photos with Max. Max, I am truly truly sorry we lost you.

I write about all the different ways to save money and live a more simplified life. Yet, there is no price that can be put on the life of someone we care about.

A really great person in my life died yesterday.

My co-worker, Max, passed on. He was always really nice to me, even when he was busy. Max was a patternmaker by trade. More importantly, he was a good person. He was a friend. He enjoyed music and had people in his life he cared about, dogs he adored, and was less than a year away from retirement. He had a joy for life, a passion for living, and he was a fighter in the good sense. He stood up for what he believed whether it was about a certain pattern revision or just being nice to people and making time to help when we needed it.

When someone passes on, there are stages of grief we all go through in varying degrees and varying steps, sometimes circling back around each other in loops, from sadness to anger to disbelief, denial, acceptance, pain... we feel them all and each express them differently. For some, silence. For others, over flowing tears.  Some reach out to laughter- not laughing at the loss, but searching for the good memories to hold onto and carry us through.

One of my co-workers said something that really struck me. She said, "Selena, they're just clothes!"

Perspective sets in when you lose someone. In an industry known for being cut throat, I've seen something completely opposite here. And in just a day, the stereotypes have completely crashed and the reality is hitting all of us. There is so much more to life than how much power we can get, what we do, or how much money we make, or who gets credit for it. There's more to life than wearing the best and owning the best or even being the best at some skill.

When we lose someone, it makes us think about what we want to do with our lives. It made me think about it. It reminded me of my regrets and mistakes. It made me think about the arguments I had with my best friend last week and how I was too proud to apologize. Yesterday I apologized. Friendship is precious. I called my grandma to tell her I love her. I sent my sister an "I love you" on Facebook. I reminisced about the people I've lost and the one I love.

It made me think about sad things like my funeral and how I want everyone to dress up like they are in the 40s or 50s with hats and veils and let go 2 doves dyed bright pink.

More importantly, it made me think about all the things I want to do before I die and the bucket list I started when I was 12.

Some of these dreams are crazy and I may never do them. And yet some would not cost me much more than time and letting go of fears and insecurities. I may never experience zero gravity or meet Neil Gaiman to tell him he wrote my favorite books. I may never swim in the Dead Sea or see world hunger eliminated in my lifetime. But I can do something.  I can write even when I don't feel like it. I can get up and run, even when I don't want to. I can learn even when it means I have to give up sleep. I can practice. I can paint. I can DREAM.

And one day, maybe I WILL travel the world, meet my pen pal, see my best friend sing on stage for a crowd of millions. Maybe if I work really hard I will learn martial arts, even if I can't get past a purple belt. Maybe if I save up enough I really will go to Greece and see the Parthenon. I may have made some big mistakes in my life- we all do. Yet, there is still room for hope, redemption, honor, and dreams.

I challenge you to dream and create goals and cherish the important things. More importantly, don't just dream, DO. With tears running down my face, I challenge you to walk away from unhealthy habits, people, and things that don't matter. Forgive the ones who hurt you and are truly sorry, and open up to new people even if there's a chance they might let you down. This is a challenge I am giving myself too.

Life is a precious gift and we never know how much of it we will get. In the end, the only thing worth anything at all is LOVE.

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