A friend of mine died this weekend. She collapsed at home and never regained consciousness. As far as I know, she hadn’t been ill or complaining of any issues. It was one of those instances where the light switch is flicked and the lights go out. If nothing else, I’m glad it was quick and painless for her.
And yeah, it hurts. We weren’t close friends, but we’d known each other for twenty years, worked in the same office, gave each other hell and made each other laugh. Even on stressful days, she could come up with a quip that would crack me up and break the tension. She moved to another job across town a few years ago and we kept in touch sporadically, but she never left my thoughts.
But this got me thinking about loss, about death, about how much time I have left. This woman was a few years younger than me, so in her late forties. That’s still youngish, outside of the “well, they had a good run” age range. It’s one of those instances that caught me off guard like a sudden slap in the face. It’s like the universe is saying, “Hey, wake up!”
It’s easy to get caught up in the minutia of our lives, to become myopic and only see things from one biased perspective. We forget to be grateful for the things we have, the good things in our lives. Like I tell my partner, we often get focused on the bad things, the inconvenient things, that occur in our lives and end up ignoring all the good. In my opinion, the good always outweighs the bad. We just have to open our eyes.
This is also a reminder that it’s a chaotic universe and shit happens for no reason whatsoever. But that’s not a reason to give up hope or succumb to existential angst. The secret is to offset the unpleasantness of life with positivity, with random acts of kindness, with empathy, with self-awareness and understanding how our actions affect others.
We have to appreciate every moment and not let trivial things ruin our days. Someone cutting you off in traffic or being rude to you on the phone are such minor inconveniences in the grand scheme of things. Just shrug it off and move on. Offset it by being nice to the next person you encounter. Believe me, it helps.
I hope you can take some time today, and every day, to be grateful for the good things in your lives. Appreciate it while you can. Our lives are just a blip on the universal radar, so make the most of it.