It’s easy to get caught up in the minor inconveniences of life and focus on trivial things. But at the end of the day you are alive and breathing and that is the greatest gift of all. Sometimes we’re too scared to say what we feel or we think that what we say or do won’t have an impact because everybody eventually forgets and moves on. But what if it was all gone tomorrow? What would you do? Tell the people you love that you love them. Do the thing that you would regret not doing in the future.

Last week my step-brother, Kyle, lost his battle to cancer. It was difficult and came much too soon. In the same week, I was planning my boyfriend’s birthday and getting ready to go on a cruise. I felt all the extremes of so many emotions. My mom gave me an amazing piece of advice that has changed the way I look at life forever. I asked her how to manage the extreme highs and lows, and if it’s even possible. She told me to live to the fullest and appreciate this life we’re lucky enough to have. She told me to remember the lows in the happy moments – to really soak it in. We never know when it could all change. Because if we don’t, what’s the point?

I was able to be with family in Illinois last weekend and while we were all emotionally exhausted and it wasn’t under ideal circumstances, it was truly therapeutic. These old pictures were found, the only pictures we had together, and it just reminds me of the fun goofy kids we were. I have so many memories with Kyle when we were younger, one of my favorites is when he accidentally gave me a black eye. I’ll remember the carefree silly kids we were forever.

At his memorial, there was a notebook of journal entries with writing prompts from when he was in sixth grade. As you can imagine, these were funny little excerpts that were sure to make you smile. There was one that stood out to me (after a few grammatical edits): “…you have personalities, feelings, humor, hobbies, habits, and style. That’s what beauty is…not just looks.”

Be beautiful, world. Go live that life. Go love a little harder.

March 15, 2019

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