You Are Alive, But Are You Living?

You Are Alive, But Are You Living?

"May you live every day of your life." -Johnathan Swift

As I occasionally scroll through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter throughout the day, I see an array of things. I see politics, memes, drama, and so on, but most of all, I see people going through the motions. Many cannot see this with the naked eye, however, some can. These lifeless posts stick out like sore thumbs to us, as we envy what you take for granted. "Another month closer to graduation," "can't wait until summer," and "not feeling the gym today" are a few things that I have read in my newsfeed within the past week. As I sit here on the couch for the eleventh consecutive day of not leaving my home, I wish nothing more than to be in school, to be wrapped up in a winter coat, or to be working out with my team.

On days prior to becoming ill, and even since becoming ill, I am guilty of going through the motions as well. I looked back on my social media accounts and found posts about how I wanted basketball season to come faster, how I was upset I could not do things because of an injury, and so many other meaningless reasons I could not allow myself to be happy in that moment. I was so caught up in the few negatives that I completely missed the many positives I was surrounded with--my health to name one.

One of the many definitions of the word "live" is "to have an exciting or fulfilling life." I beg that each of you asks yourself, "am I, by this definition, living?"

We get so wrapped up in what could be rather than what is, and before we know it, what is becomes what was. My one biggest regret from my healthy self is not living, and I write this praying that readers do not realize they never "lived" after it is already too late. There are so many things that can be considered "exciting or fulfilling" like in the definition. Every day that you wake up, you are gifted with another day on Earth; is that not exciting and fulfilling within itself? I am by no means suggesting you cannot be excited about future endeavors, complain about the crazy weather, or be upset your team did not make the playoffs, but instead am challenging you. I am challenging you to live every day of your life.

As the ill community tries our best to live life to its fullest with our limitations, I ask that each of you live your unlimited life in our honor. Appreciate everything; dwell on nothing. These are the six things I strive to do every day and wish I would have done back when it was so much easier to do.

  1. Live every new day with a fresh start. Do not let your mistakes of yesterday keep you from having a wonderful day. Today is too good of a day to have a bad day.
  2. Use every opportunity to your advantage. Each day is filled with endless opportunities and adventures, do not be afraid to take a chance now and then.
  3. Never wish your days away. Accept each day as a blessing and make it a great one.
  4. Be kind. There is nothing more fulfilling than to make another person smile. Perform a random act of kindness each day. It can be anything from buying someone's lunch or even simply complimenting them; a little goes a long way.
  5. Stop doing things just to do them. If you do not enjoy what you are doing, either stop doing it or try to make the absolute best of it.
  6. Allow yourself to be happy. Do not let little things drag you down. Remember to relax and smell the roses.

Now it is up to you; are you going to accept this challenge and begin living, or are you going to continue going through the motions?

Cover Image Credit: Sara Lynch Photography

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A Letter To My Humans On Our Last Day Together

We never thought this day would come.

I didn't sleep much last night after I saw your tears. I would have gotten up to snuggle you, but I am just too weak. We both know my time with you is coming close to its end, and I just can't believe it how fast it has happened.

I remember the first time I saw you like it was yesterday.

You guys were squealing and jumping all around, because you were going home with a new dog. Dad, I can still feel your strong hands lifting me from the crate where the rest of my puppy brothers and sisters were snuggled around my warm, comforting puppy Momma. You held me up so that my chunky belly and floppy wrinkles squished my face together, and looked me right in the eyes, grinning, “She's the one."

I was so nervous on the way to my new home, I really didn't know what to expect.

But now, 12 years later as I sit in the sun on the front porch, trying to keep my wise, old eyes open, I am so grateful for you. We have been through it all together.

Twelve “First Days of School." Losing your first teeth. Watching Mom hang great tests on the refrigerator. Letting you guys use my fur as a tissue for your tears. Sneaking Halloween candy from your pillowcases.

Keeping quiet while Santa put your gifts under the tree each year. Never telling Mom and Dad when everyone started sneaking around. Being at the door to greet you no matter how long you were gone. Getting to be in senior pictures. Waking you up with big, sloppy kisses despite the sun not even being up.

Always going to the basement first, to make sure there wasn't anything scary. Catching your first fish. First dates. Every birthday. Prom pictures. Happily watching dad as he taught the boys how to throw every kind of ball. Chasing the sticks you threw, even though it got harder over the years.

Cuddling every time any of you weren't feeling well. Running in the sprinkler all summer long. Claiming the title “Shotgun Rider" when you guys finally learned how to drive. Watching you cry in mom and dads arms before your graduation. Feeling lost every time you went on vacation without me.

Witnessing the awkward years that you magically all overcame. Hearing my siblings learn to read. Comforting you when you lost grandma and grandpa. Listening to your phone conversations. Celebrating new jobs. Licking your scraped knees when you would fall.

Hearing your shower singing. Sidewalk chalk and bubbles in the sun. New pets. Family reunions. Sleepovers. Watching you wave goodbye to me as the jam-packed car sped up the driveway to drop you off at college. So many memories in what feels like so little time.

When the time comes today, we will all be crying. We won't want to say goodbye. My eyes might look glossy, but just know that I feel your love and I see you hugging each other. I love that, I love when we are all together.

I want you to remember the times we shared, every milestone that I got to be a part of.

I won't be waiting for you at the door anymore and my fur will slowly stop covering your clothes. It will be different, and the house will feel empty. But I will be there in spirit.

No matter how bad of a game you played, how terrible your work day was, how ugly your outfit is, how bad you smell, how much money you have, I could go on; I will always love you just the way you are. You cared for me and I cared for you. We are companions, partners in crime.

To you, I was simply a part of your life, but to me, you were my entire life.

Thank you for letting me grow up with you.

Love always,

Your family dog

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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To The Best Friend Every Girl Should Be Blessed Enough To Have

You definitely deserve all the love.


I have not written this letter, but it has been on my list of "to write" for forever. She keeps asking when I will write one about her and every time I tell her, soon.

Well here it is. The truth on why it took so long? No words seem to do everything justice. No matter how I put them or how I want them to sound, the page always makes them look weird and they always sound lame.

But finally, here it is. Best friend, this one is for you.

First and foremost I will start with a holy cow. We have been best friends for only a short time because who knew your "in school friend" from all those math classes would actually turn into this? We put off hanging out outside of school for years, and finally, after suffering through all that algebra we decided enough was enough.

I wish we had sooner.

I wish I had gotten more time with you before we both moved away to college - but ill take whatever time I get with you because well… you're incredible.

Thank you.

Thank you for finally agreeing to hang out with me.

Thank you for listening to every rant ever - whether it was a paragraph long text, a 2 hour FaceTime call or an hour-long car ride.

Thank you for ordering planners with me and spending nights decorating them with me (we are such losers).

Thank you for letting me become a part of your family.

Thank you for going to Friendly's, IHOP and Target at the most ungodly hours.

Thank you for encouraging me in everything I do, and stopping me from making bad decisions.

Thank you for telling me the truth, despite if it hurt me or not, I know now you will never lie about your feelings towards someone (LOL).

Basically, thank you for everything you have done for me. You have made me a better person and you encourage me to be my best self every single day.

Moving on I want to make it clear how incredibly proud of you I am. I love getting texts from you about your love for your classes, and how you want to be president of this club and president of that. How you help out kids, and how you host events. I love hearing about your major and the classes you are so incredibly excited to take. Watching you be so passionate about what you are doing and becoming makes me want to feel the same way in everything I do.

I hope someday my kids are your students because, in your hands, I know they can change the world.

Last but not least, I love you. And you're stuck with me.


Your forever number one fan

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