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Make it Count

Updated: Jan 11

I have been confronted by thoughts and fears of death in recent weeks, as a close family member and a sweet high school friend both passed away. Dying is a topic we don't like to think about or talk about, preferring to pretend that the inevitable doesn't exist, even though deep down we always know it does. You can't out-run it, or out-think it. Generally we do not know when or how it will find us, so it's not something you usually can entirely prepare for. The shadow of death walks beside us every day we are alive, though, so I have been pondering recently on how to make peace with it. I've come to the conclusion that the best way to cope with the looming reality of death, is to fully embrace life.

Live Large: For me this means travel to exotic places, writing, dancing and activities with my family. For you it may look vastly different. The point is to create and embark on your bucket list adventures, whatever they may be. Connect with your passions, and joys. Do something every day that you feel excited about. Never stop learning and growing. Your life is happening right now, so don't wait to reach for dreams and happiness. Make a plan, and start moving toward it today.

Live in Love: The popular Beatles song "All You Need is Love" captured a timeless truth. In essence, the meaning of life boils down to love. Romantic flutters, unconditional parental loyalty, and even patriotism stem from the power of a heart prepared to give and receive love. Through both laughter and tears, love is why moments matter. It is why we do what we do, and defines who we are. People, pets, causes and creeds - ultimately love IS all we need.

Live your Legacy: How do you want to be remembered when you are gone? What will your legacy be? Are you living the life now that will lead to that? Some feel compelled to leave something behind that will endure beyond their years; perhaps a work of art, an invention that blesses the world or notoriety in various forms. Others aim to instill teachings and inspiration, leave financial means behind or start foundations that will go on making a positive difference after they are gone. Your legacy will emerge from your choices all throughout your life. The smallest things can have immense impact. As family and friends have been remembering my father-in-law and high-school friend, the conversations have centered less on their outward accomplishments, and more on their natures and personalities. Kindness, leadership, sunshine, and integrity are words often expressed. Those memories will go on forever in the hearts of those who knew and loved them.

On the day that I die, whenever that time may come, my hope and prayer is that I will leave echos of love and light behind me. The incomparable Mae West once said, "You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough." In other words - Make it Count!

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