As I cozied up in the booth of a dimly-lit restaurant across from my new girlfriends, I was suffused with warmth and happiness and the realization that this is what it's all about. Jazz music and genuine conversations and laughter that makes you throw your head back in joy. The moments that fuel your soul.
I have an impressive track record of being unable to let go and enjoy the moment in front of me. I couldn't believe what I had been missing this whole time. There was so much life and beauty and happiness that I had let slip past me because I was too preoccupied with stress and heartbreak and the things that have no right to take over our lives.
So here's to living.
I dare you to go out after a long week and flirt with that stranger from across the room and dance until you feel nothing but sheer bliss, even though your heart's still sore from the boy who didn't text you back.
I dare you to wake up early on a Sunday morning and put on your sundress and laugh over sunshine and mimosas with your girlfriends, even though you've got too much on your plate and the dread of that seven-page paper you have to write for your least favorite class has been following you around all weekend.
I dare you to grab your jacket at five in the morning and sneak up to the roof of the tallest building on your campus and watch the sunrise, even though the thought of heights scares you and you could probably use the sleep and the very thought of leaving your room once gave you a panic attack.
I dare you to go out and live, even though you always have too much on your mind to be fully present, and you're always expecting the worst, and you tragically believe at your young age that happiness never lasts.
I dare you to live because there are songs you haven't sung in the car and people you haven't kissed and memories that are waiting for you.
I dare you to live because this world will not love you until you start to love it.
I dare you to live because you deserve to.
So here's to living. Here's to being here, in the moment, and being alive.