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Just live your life

Kevin Kimberly | Monday, April 4, 2011

After the ever-so-disappointing Notre Dame-Florida State tournament game, I thanked Mike Brey and the Notre Dame Basketball Team for only one thing — giving me an easy topic to write about for this column. I knew I could easily babble on about my thoughts concerning basketball at Notre Dame, Mike Brey’s future, how inexcusable that performance was and so on. But recently, I received much more important, much more disappointing news that amplified the tough year the Notre Dame Community has endured — three heartbreaking stories to add to the ones of Declan Sullivan and Lizzy Seeberg.

First, it was the headline that professor John Renaud of the College of Engineering died of cancer. Shortly after, news of the fateful car accident involving Leprechaun David Zimmer’s brother, Riley, and his friends surfaced. In the latest story, the apparent suicide of Notre Dame sophomore Sean Valero last Friday added to the chaos.

I was left speechless when I first woke up to the news about Sean. All day, I kept asking myself, “This is so unfair. When is this going to end?” Describing this year as a tragic one is certainly an understatement, but the last thing I want to do is harp on the stories themselves. We all know them and they will live on in our memory. How do we go forward now? What is there to gain? These are the questions.

Belief in God or not, life is certainly a gift that each one of us has been given, yet we often do not treat it as such. Particularly in the hustle and bustle of college, life can easily become what the daily planner and schedule dictates. We settle into our bubble and routine without much living itself. We often study something we do not enjoy, aiming for goals that may not be our own. We regularly do things because our résumé could use them instead of our desire to do them. We sometimes focus more on other people than ourselves. We frequently let little things get the best of us or cause drama. And we often miss the meaning of certain people’s role(s) in our lives. All because we have become too comfortable with the established norm. Heck, look at the bar schedule students follow — it has the same places every week on the same respective days. Does it not just get old?

Life is meant to be lived, not to be followed. We know not the day nor hour when the opportunity to live will be gone or even diminished. When that day comes, will we be able to look back with approval of how we took advantage of all this world and the people around us have to offer? Will we be happy with how we spent our time here? Will the people we love know that we loved them? Will we be able to say we touched another person’s life in some way or strived to make some change? Ultimately, will we be able to say that we treated life like a gift?

These are the things that are brought to the forefront when I try to process these tragic incidents. These unfortunate reminders can often help us see the deeper meaning of something greater than ourselves if we look for it. Often, the testimonies following death show us those who did take advantage of their lives. Those for Declan, Lizzy and Riley certainly spoke to the deep passion they held for life and love they had for those surrounding them.

In 2008, T.I. released a major hit with Rihanna that took the radio by storm. Maybe we should take the simple advice they offer: “Just live your life. Hey, ayy, ayy, ayy. No tellin’ where it’ll take ya. Just live your life.”

Kevin Kimberly is a senior majoring in psychology and political science. He is eligible to run for president in 2024 and welcomes campaign slogans and ideas at kkimberl@nd.edu

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.