The Incredible Lightness of Being

I awoke in the middle of the night, unable to sleep because I’ve had a lot on my mind lately. In truth, I’d been feeling down for the past few days; sometimes life decides to challenge you in ways you’re just not ready to deal with at the moment. After comically making my way through the darkened house to the Keurig for much needed coffee (how many cat toys can BE on the floor!?), I finally sat down to read the day’s news. And there it was: a beautiful young girl’s face peering confidently out at me on Yahoo! News.

Marina Keegan had written a new book, The Opposite of Loneliness — a collection of stories and essays written while she was at Yale. However, Ms. Keegan didn’t live to see the impact that her words had upon the world. She was killed in a car crash on her way to a birthday celebration for her father. As the mother of four wonderful children, I cannot imagine such heartache. I clicked on the story and read her five pieces of advice to her fellow Yale classmates. The knowledge of what happened to her shortly after she wrote them makes the advice all the more powerful and poignant.

Ms. Keegan’s advice in Number Four? 4. Value life — all of it.file0001022762658

This is absolutely true. Even the things that we don’t want to deal with right now (or ever) can teach us something. When you get your heart broken by a boy, a friend, or a college that you really wanted to go to, those experiences still redirect your path to a more fruitful journey. I can recall so many times I asked, “Why, God, why?” and only months or even years later thought, “You know, I’m glad that didn’t work out because I love where I am now, who I’m with now, what I ended up doing.”

Life is relatively short when you think about it. We get maybe 100 years of spins around the sun if we’re lucky. Make the most of everyday. Go ahead and feel whatever it is you’re feeling, own it, deal with it if you’re sad or angry, and always remember that this life is a gift. Buy a rosebush so you can literally smell the roses every day. I planted 42 of them a few years ago and cannot wait for them to bloom each summer. They’re symbolic of hope and renewal, but they are also pure beauty. Roses are capable of growing in a pot, on your balcony, or on a back porch. The point is to make beauty wherever you are in life, both literally and symbolically. Be hardy. Be beautiful. Go out there and embrace life, Germies. I’ll be out there with you doing the same.

 

Jerri Sparks is a single mom (of three teens and one pre-teen) living in Western New York.  A former Congressional press secretary and a UCLA alum, Ms. Sparks now works in the BioPharma Research industry by day and is a freelance writer by night, advocating for the things she’s passionate about.  This may or may not involve Wonder Woman. Contact her at jerri@germmagazine.com.

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