Life is Short: How Loss Taught Me To Follow My Dreams

Loss is one of the tragic inevitabilities of life, but believe it or not there is one positive to dealing with the loss of a loved one: the ability to truly understand how freaking short life really is.

After unexpectedly losing my 48-year-old uncle, I have recently found myself laying in bed evaluating the 100-year life plan I have always assumed I will fulfill but now realizing that not even one more second on this planet is guaranteed.

I wrongly assume that I have plenty of time to achieve all of my dreams and goals, but that is grossly ignorant of me!

I wait for the perfect time to reach out to an old friend. I sit around hoping my dream job will miraculously fall into my lap. I stress and worry about everything I want to do without actually doing any of it.

Life is too freaking short to stress. To wait. To be unhappy!

I recently had a conversation with a close family friend who found himself trapped in a job he hates after starting a family. He accepted stability and a steady paycheck over fulfillment and happiness. Don’t get me wrong a man has to do what he has to do, but my heart broke for him as he told me “Only 17 more years until I can retire at 70 years old”.

Can you imagine counting down every day of your life for the next 17 years? Waiting and dreaming of the day you turn 70 so you can finally quit the job you hate?!

Many of us, including myself, struggle to find the balance between happiness and practicality.

I fully admit to bypassing my gut instincts that tell me to forge towards the path of happiness just so I can vainly appear as though I have my life together. Lord forbid I look like a loser to people whose opinions don’t really matter in the first place.

At 25 I finally learned to trust my instincts.

It wasn’t easy for me to quit my Master’s degree and accept living on my sister’s couch, but I no longer wanted to be the girl with a calendar on her wall counting down the days until she could go home.

And I admit that my new job as a hostess at a ski resort feels underneath me as a college educated young woman, but for the first time in 3 years I am happy, filled with excitement, and hopeful, and why the hell would I trade the possibility of being successful but miserable for personal fulfillment and true happiness?

My uncle’s death hit me like a ton of bricks. He was a man who didn’t care what ANYBODY else thought, he had dreams and he was going to fulfill them. His only downfall was that he believed, like the rest of us, that he had more than enough time to get around to them.

He still dreamt of falling in love, settling down and having a family, moving to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. He lived a life unrealized.

The sad reality is that we never know if we have another birthday to celebrate, another chance to tell someone you love them, another day, hour, minute, or second so do something with the time you have. Don’t worry about rejection or fear, chase your dreams and do what you LOVE.

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