Watch the video first, and then read the rest. I promise it makes sense by the end.
Today is something of a gloomy day from a couple of different perspectives. Today marks the forty-seventh anniversary of the deaths of astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chafee when a fire broke out in their command module during on-pad testing of Apollo 1. This tragedy almost destroyed the U.S. manned spaceflight program, and remained the most deadly disaster in NASA history until the loss of the Challenger space shuttle. The twenty-eighth anniversary of that disaster is tomorrow.
But as tragic as those losses were, they are in the past and are now a matter of sad history. Humans, for better or worse, must live in the present, even if we can learn from history. The husband of an old family friend of mine has been battling cancer for the better part of the last year. Just a few days ago, she announced that they had been told by his doctors that there was nothing more they could do other than play for time. And that reminded me of the story told in the video of a girl named Amanda, who I never met, and who I didn't even know existed until well after she had passed away. And even though it is a story told via tweets, it is a real story, which gives it power. She was living her life worrying about the everyday things that everyone worries about: Her annoyances at her job, making cookies, getting a Christmas tree, the fights with her family, and so on. And then she found out that her life had a visible end date. And she made the most of her remaining time, which is all we can do.
But the point here is that all of us will face this someday. We don't know when - we could be like Amanda and have it happen when we are young and still trying to figure life out. or we could live to a ripe old age before the reaper comes looking for us. The brutal fact is, sooner or later, we will all find ourselves in our last moments. From a certain perspective, Amanda was lucky: She got notice that she was careening towards her final day. Many of us won't have that. The husband of a woman I used to work for collapsed while they were out shopping, and was dead before he reached the hospital. He never got the chance to take a last trip, put his affairs in order, make amends with people he was estranged from, or say goodbye to loved ones. All of the threads of his life were left hanging, unfinished in the air. And for many of us, this will be how our lives end, suddenly, and without warning. Others will know that their death is coming for them.
The thing I think it is important to take away from this is that life is for living, and you better go ahead and live it in the best way you can, because you don't know how much of it you will get. Spending your time doing things you don't love, living with people you dislike, carrying grudges, and so on is simply time that you won't get back. Once it is spent, it is gone. Spend your life well. You owe it to yourself to do that.
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