Live Fearlessly

Live Fearlessly

Here's to living your best life!
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The renowned country artist, Tim McGraw, once wrote a song called “Live Like You Were Dying.” This song is written from the perspective of a narrator who tells his tale of visiting a dying man in the hospital and asking him what he did knowing he would die soon. The man responded, “I went skydiving, Rocky Mountain climbing, and I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fumanchu. I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter. I gave the forgiveness that I’ve been denying.”

Upon hearing this song my sophomore year in high school, something in my heart was triggered and the words spoke to me. These were the dreams I had of living fearlessly but hadn’t actually done. It was this same year that I declared to myself that I would live wholeheartedly and be proactive in the pursuit of creating my life. After all, We are given the whole earth, with all of its beauty, opportunities, and magnitude and we get to choose what we do with it. We only have a finite amount of time. It would be a shame if I didn’t take advantage of every moment and every blessing I was given. I know it sounds cliche, but I can now say that between age 15 in my sophomore year of high school, and being 19 as a freshman year of college, I have gone skydiving, I have gone Rocky Mountain climbing, and I road a mechanical bull for 2.8 seconds.

This change in mindset is the spark that was needed to motivate me to live my life, not just exist. I now look outside my window overlooking Charleston and see possibilities of the day ahead of me rather than tasks I need to check off my list. I’m not saying everyone should go jump out of a plane, but the mindset of fearless living is one that I try to embody and share. I want everyone to experience this feeling of “yolo.” I’m writing this letter to my 15-year-old self and hopefully those who have had similar struggles with anxiety and hesitations as I have. Bellow, I have deciphered what I believe are 5 essential components I would have told my past self that I’ve learned of fearless living.


Dear 15-year-old Audrey,

As you have begun high-school, I know you have entered a new world. Being an underclassman can be daunting, and I know high school is giving you a lot of anxiety. I want you to know that you are deserving/ fully capable of a life full of adventure, love, and success. Though there will be times in which you are challenged and nervous, I want to provide you with the insight I now have been a freshman in college. I want you to look up the song “Live Like You Are Dying” by Tim McGraw and see what you can take away from listening to it. Until then, I am providing you with the advice you can use as a catalyst to begin your journey of a fearless life.

1. be vulnerable & take risks

Get outside your comfort zone! Whether that is riding that scary rollercoaster, telling the person you’ve been crushing on how you feel, or applying for a challenging AP that you might challenge you. Though rejection and failure are some of our greatest fears, it is impossible to feel and live to your full capacity without vulnerability. One of your favorite authors once said in a book you will read called Daring Greatly,

Life is a continuous Adventure of uncertainty and vulnerability, you can do it!

2. establish what you want to accomplish / who you want to be

Seek what you are looking for instead of waiting Think of it like a bucket list. Once you have acknowledged what it is you want to do and who it is you want to be, you can start taking steps in your everyday life to successfully reach your goals. I have learned that you can’t have a perspective of “I want to be this kind of person” or “one-day I would like to do this.” To embody your ideas, you have to make them a lifestyle. What you do each morning contributes to molding you and your path.You get a certain amount of time on this earth. The amount of time, actions during this time, placement of this time, as well as the energy released during this time. Give it all you have.

3. Prioritize

Love deeper, speak sweeter. Find time in every day to acknowledge the people in your life who you have been blessed with and tell them how you feel right away. Be kind, give more than you get, smile at everyone you see, and say thank you. Find/prioritize the people in your world who deserves your time and energy. Understand that not everyone can be this kind of person for you and you cant waste precious time trying to fix them. Don’t give more than one is willing to provide you, it won't fulfill you. Prioritize those who lift you up, but never forget to prioritize yourself. It is OKAY to be selfish sometimes. Find time every day to freeze in the fast-paced world around you and breath. Read a book, talk to a friend, watch a movie, go for a run, look up at the beauty you live in.

4. forgive others, but also yourself

Give forgiveness you have been denying. This forgiveness also includes you. You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress, simultaneously.It's all connected; your gifts, your circumstance, your purpose, your imperfections, your journey, embrace it, don’t let it hold you back. We get so mad at ourselves for the mistakes we make in our lives, but we forget to recognize that our mistakes have molded us. Nothing would be the same if we hadn't made these mistakes. Everyday shows a new array of lessons, and you will experience more down the road. Being able to forgive yourself will lead you to have the empathy to forgive others. No one is innocent and we all mess up. Learn to be gentle with yourself and others.

5. never, ever limit yourself

I think a lot of times we have this idea in our head that for some reason, we are less. We are mesmerized by other’s experiences and think “I want to do that one day” but we fear that we, ourselves could never do it. The reality is we were all born boundless. We limit our relationships because we don’t think we are enough. We don’t go to church because we think we are sinners, we don’t try out for the team because we don’t think we will make it, or we settle for a job that we don’t love. You are the only one who is limiting yourself. Do not let it happen.


To sum this whole letter up in a sentence, go do it. It is never too late to be vulnerable, forgive, and be fearless in the pursuit of your goals.

P.S., when you are 18, you will go skydiving. Before jumping out of the plane, your tandem instructor will make a statement that I want you to think about. “Don’t forget to look up at the horizon. It goes by so fast and you don’t want to miss it.”

From the wise words of Tim McGraw, “and he said someday I hope you get the chance, to live like you were dying.”

Good luck,

Audrey Reed Hall


Cover Image Credit: Audrey Hall

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5 Small Ways We Can Help the Planet Everyday, Not Just On Earth Day

Trust me, they're super easy.
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Earth Day has come and gone, but there are still so many ways for us to do our part and help our planet!

As a species, we have produced more plastic in the last ten years than we did in the entire last century. The average American throws away 185 pounds of plastic each year and half of it is only used once. When it's thrown away, the trash just floats along. Literally.

By 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.

This is really really not good. But, luckily, it's almost entirely avoidable.

Here's a list of things we can all do to keep our planet pretty and kick some ass for Mother Earth.

1. Ditch plastic straws

Yeah, you've probably heard this one before — but hear me out. We only use straws once and then we throw them away. They end up in the ocean and kill sea turtles. We're all guilty of this. Hell, I used to drink everything with a straw. But the important thing is that we change our ways and better not only ourselves but the environment.

If you still wanna use a straw, that's totally okay! Try using a glass or bamboo one. You can buy packs of them on Amazon for less than ten dollars, which isn't bad considering you'll be able to reuse these as many times as you want.

2. B.Y.O.F. (Bring your own fork)

And your own spoon. And knife, as well. If you plan on going out for the day and you don't want to bring your own food, you can just buy your lunch and use your own silverware. This way, you won't waste any plasticware and there is no unnecessary waste from your lunch.

3. Cups, too!

While we're on the subject of just bringing your own stuff, bring your own cup when you're out for the day! Whether it's your water cup or your travel coffee mug, bring it (even if you don't plan on making your own coffee or tea).

Why, might you ask? Well, because you can just go to your favorite cafe and get your favorite hot drink in your own cup! This is both more sustainable and more cost-effective (they actually charge you for the cup).

4. Don't! Use! Plastic! Bags!

No matter where you are or where you're shopping, please be sure to use a tote bag or any other kind of reusable grocery bag. It's better for the environment, it's easier for you to carry, and you can get one with whatever you want on it! Mine says "You look radishing" and it has a drawing of radishes. Very cute.

Also, if you're buying fresh produce, you can use lighter mesh bags instead of the plastic bags from the produce section!

5. For *that* time of the month

If you're a period-having person, you might want to rethink the way you handle your lunar cycle. On average, people who have periods will throw away 300,000 pounds of menstrual products in their lifetime. This is really really not cool.

I suggest switching from tampons and pads to menstrual cups and cloth pads. While the cups might seem weird at first, trust me — they aren't weird at all. Both cups and cloth pads are easier and longer lasting than your conventional period tools.


While there are a bunch of other tips I could most definitely talk about and rant about and advocate for, I feel like this is a good place to start.

Just be sure to reduce the number of one-time plastics you use and make sure you're cautious of the waste you produce.

Cover Image Credit: Penelope De La Cruz

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What YouTube Says About Our Generation

We can learn a lot from high school vlogs.
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Last week I wrote an article that sought to examine YouTube, not as an entertainment platform, but as a revolutionary and powerful tool, capable of documenting and preserving our generation in ways which no generation previously could.

I wrote:

"The ubiquity of cameras has made it so that our images are being captured constantly whether we realize it or not. And with YouTube and the Internet, we are seamlessly being cataloged into a massive and growing database of humanity ... I think of YouTube as a time capsule. Centuries from now, everyone can look back through YouTube and wholly experience our generation: its sights, sounds, issues, and—most importantly—the individual personalities of, not just its Kings and Queens, but its ordinary people."

With this article, and in subsequent articles, I'd like to elaborate on this concept by exploring and showcasing various content on YouTube. In doing so, I hope I can get some people to look at Youtube through a different lens—one that understands it as a historical tool.

In this article, I'd like to share a type of video I've found much of on YouTube: "day in the life of high school" videos. In these videos, someone goes around with a camera and basically shoots, in documentary style, a full day of high school.

Here's one from 1996:

One of the fascinating things about a video like this is that, when we watch it, we tend to see it in the context of the present. I'll watch the video, but instantly my brain seeks out the differences and similarities between high school in 1996 and in 2016 (when I graduated high school).

Through this video, we see, documented in an unbiased fashion, the lives of ordinary people. And through watching these people, we can also extrapolate further information about that generation. We are ALL a product of our times, whether we realize it or not. Everything posted on YouTube lends some kind of window into the present that it was posted in.

For example, at around 17 minutes into the video above, the cameraman begins to hum the Mission Impossible theme, a movie which came out in May of 1996, right about the time this video was shot. It was a big blockbuster hit and was most definitely on the minds of high schoolers like these. While that might not sound too fascinating right now in 2018, it will be a much more fascinating detail to those studying pop culture history 100 years into the future.

Now take a look at a modern "day of high school" video:

Now, imagine you were somebody in 1996 watching this video today. In just 20 years, we can already see tremendous generational differences. In the 1996 video, people were detached when confronted with a camera; it was something strange to them. In 2018, the digital age has taken over completely. In this video, everyone understands that he is "vlogging," a term that didn't exist in 1996.

In fact, everything about this video screams of our generation: the slang, the music, the fast jump cuts, the concept of a "YouTuber," the dress, the technology, Internet culture, how everyone's plugging their Internet identities (Instagram, SoundCloud, etc.)... the list goes on and on. Going from the 1996 day of high school and then jumping to this one really puts my generation into perspective.

This video is much more polished and edited, and its clearly made with the intention to project oneself to an audience, rather than for purely documentary purposes like the video from 1996 was. It brings to light an unforeseen force working all around us: the rise of a new type of global culture, one that, through social media, is growing larger by the day.

But these are just two videos out of over a billion YouTube videos. Estimated, it would take 60,000 years of non-stop watching to watch every video that is on YouTube right now. That is a LOT of content, and ALL of that is focused on the thoughts, concerns, issues, and realities of THIS generation.

We will leave a footprint unlike any other generation in history; I think its important for all of us to understand that.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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