The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Live like you’re alive

Sarah Mervosh | Friday, September 11, 2009

At my high school graduation party, I smiled my way through about a million conversations with people I only pretended to know, but somehow didn’t get a chance to talk to the one person I wish I would have.

Stella was a family friend battling breast cancer. She had an optimistic attitude, so I remember being hit with reality when my mom told me Stella probably wouldn’t get to attend her own child’s graduation party.

Unfortunately, that was all too true. Stella died this week. And on the anniversary of one of the most tragic days in our nation’s history, I can’t help but consider how precious life really is.

To be honest, I’m usually too busy thinking about all the work I have to do to appreciate life or the people around me. I e-mail my grandparents instead of calling them because I think I don’t have time to pick up the phone. Time with friends is usually spent scarfing down meals in the dining hall or drunk at a party. Not exactly quality time.

But once in a while, life taps me on the shoulder and reminds me that we all don’t live to be 100 years-old. I don’t have all the time in the world to do all that I want to accomplish and become who I want to be.

This isn’t a “you should live everyday like it’s your last” column. I’m not saying that you should drop out of school tomorrow, marry the first person you see walking down South Quad or blow all your money on a lavish vacation.

You don’t have to live like you were dying, but I am suggesting that you live like you’re alive. Figure out what makes you feel most alive, and then actively pursue it.

Feeling alive doesn’t have to be big and bold. It doesn’t have to be skydiving or rock climbing. We can all instill a small fire in our everyday lives by choosing to step outside of our comfort zones.

Volunteer in class if you are normally shy. Get a tattoo. Study abroad. Let yourself fall in love.

We can actively appreciate the positives in life – when a class gets cancelled and you can sleep in, when someone gives you a compliment, or when Notre Dame beats Michigan tomorrow.

If you are reading this column, you have the privilege of being alive, and not everyone is so lucky. So send your grandpa a homemade birthday card. Say “I love you” when you hang up the phone with your mom. Take five seconds to be thankful for this day, this moment, this breath.

Odds are that you aren’t going to die anytime soon, but life provides no guarantees – only opportunities.