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Cherish every day

Carolyn Hutyra | Sunday, February 17, 2013

This past week, one of my best friend’s neighbors passed away. The week before, the mother of a family friend died and a few weeks earlier another close friend of mine found out a teammate from high school was failing in his fight against cancer.
I say this not to cause sadness or despair, but rather to motivate. Each and every day we surround ourselves with people who have so much to offer this world. Our friends will grow up to be doctors, lawyers, teachers, engineers, scientists and so much more. We are blessed to know them, and I hope we all appreciate them.
Furthermore, I hope this encourages us to lead our lives to the fullest. Think of any high school or college graduation speech. The speakers are so quick to encourage us, and tell us the number of opportunities that await us. Do we seize them? They say challenges will come our way, but will we be able to overcome them?
To answer these questions, I go back to one of my favorite quotes delivered by Leonardo DiCaprio in “Titanic.” “I figure life’s a gift and I don’t intend on wasting it,” he says. “You don’t know what hand you’re gonna get dealt next. You learn to take life as it comes at you … to make each day count.”
I wish we really could make each day count. If I asked people to think back to last year, I wonder if they could list 50 great moments from 2012 they will remember for the rest of their lives. People tend to remember the big moments, the cool vacations, the athletic accomplishments, but the truth is that after a while even those begin to fade.
As college students, a good number of us have begun our third decade of life on this earth. Our generation still has time to make a difference, and I wonder at the impact we may have.
Last week I saw a posting on Facebook about an 87-year-old college student named Rose. Whether or not the story is true is debatable, but the lesson remains powerful nonetheless. Despite her age, Rose decided to enroll in college courses and over the course of the year she became a popular figure around the campus she attended. She told people she was completing the college degree that she was never able to finish all those years ago.
The story ends with her receiving an invitation to speak at a football banquet. Her speech centers on finding a way to laugh every day and having dreams to follow throughout life. At the end of the story there is a quote that goes, “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.”
Say we live to a ripe old age. Will we be able to look back and say we lived without regrets? Say that if we could go back there would not be a single thing we would change? I hope so.