So often in Life, we don’t realize how precious and irreversible time is. We don’t realize we should enjoy this day fully, because it’s one of the best days of our Life (we only see that in retrospective). We don’t realize we need to stop pushing, stop working, and take a break, because we are harming our health. We are delusional and unaware of so much. And at some point, we simply face the consequences of our unawareness, and pay the price for it.
You know, we need to respect the beauty of Life and the beauty of being Human — and take care of it. Because Life is fragile. And Life is short.
Life is very short, and there’s no time
For fussing and fighting, my friend
On my very first day of my second studies — Design — I was sitting in the auditorium listening tothe welcome speech of the dean, not knowing anyone in the hall. This blond girl next to me was nodding enthusiastically and making approving comments on the dean’s speech. I thought she’s crazy.
She introduced herself – she was starting her Architecture studies that day.
It was the spring of 2012 and literally all I remember from this first university day is her.
Fast forward a year, she’s become my best friend. She’s one of the main reasons for me to feel at home. Not just the living-in-a-foreign-country feeling at home, but the you-found-your-people feeling at home.
You found someone whose presence liberates you, validates you, empowers you. You feel strong when you’re together. You feel unbeatable. She’d do anything for you and you’d do anything for her.
Your fundamental human need for belonging, for being understood and accepted is fulfilled, as you’re connected to someone who’s as ambitious, as perfectionist, as high-achieving, emotional, crazy as you are. You can be 100% yourself with her, because she’s like you.
Actually, she was more than me in all aspects. She had infinite energy, it seemed.
A straight-A student, a brilliant architectural mind, always pulling all-nighters to create the best projects in her class and give the very best she’s capable of – even when she got diagnosed with a terminal disease. She never stopped.
Her high spirit and energy, her liveliness, fire, speed of thought and action were beyond inspiring. I always felt so small next to her. She was a true force of nature. A powerhouse of positivity and exuberance.
I admired how action-focused she was: when faced with a question/problem/challenge, she immediately suggested or put a solution to practice. She never spent a second hesitating, dwelling, waiting. She was non-apologetic, straight-to-the-point, crystal clear in what she wants and an incredibly generous, open-minded and good-hearted person.
She can kick your ass and save your ass. She always does what has to be done.
I commend how she was always in motion, creating and enjoying life to the fullest. I had some of my craziest parties, evenings, deepest heart talks and one absolutely thrilling trip to the Greek seaside with her.
We enjoyed our sunny time at the beach so much that we were ready to let go of all our career goals and crazy work hours, and embrace our new ambitions to just be thin, brown and blond. It genuinely felt enough at this point.
Needless to say, that’s not what either of us went for. She moved to a better university, and I did the same later on. Mine was in a different city though, which put some 600km between us. But when there’s a real, strong emotional bond between you, time and spacial distance cannot affect your friendship. Even if you barely see each other once a year, it feels like nothing has ever changed. You just have more updates to share. What did have an effect was the diagnosis. I remember how paralyzed I felt when she told me about it on the phone; and how ready to cope with it, rationally and clearly thinking she sounded.
“Everything you gain in life will rot & fall apart, and all that will be left is what was in your heart.” ~Jim Carrey
You know, this is the kind of person you feel proud to have as a friend. You want to brag about her, as she upgrades your life by simply being part of it. You feel so much better just by knowing her.
OK, so what do we do now that she’s gone? She’d roll up her sleeves, clap her hands loudly and put my mind into solution-finding-mode if she was here to see me crying my eyes out while writing these lines. (or maybe she is here)
And that’s what makes her a Human to look up to, and to remember every day. It’s the triumph of her spirit over every circumstance.
This is a triumph of life over death.
She’s not gone, she’s everywhere. In everyone who’s known her. The terminal illness never broke her spirit, so how would we dare to not keep it alive now?
Every single one of her friends knows that she wouldn’t want us to be sad, depressed, and cry. She wouldn’t want us to give in to negative emotions. She’d want us to beat ‘em, smash ‘em, win over them!
She’d want us to be cheerful, celebrate life, stay in motion, go for the things we want, pursue our goals, be energetic, be free! She’d want us to be united, to be good to each other, to love and care for each other. She’d want to see our joie de vivre in action! To look in the mirror, tell ourselves we can do everything we want to and do it!
To honor her spirit, here are three action steps I can extract from my experience of knowing her:
Love yourself and love every other human being. Know that everyone is going through some tough stuff, no matter how it looks like on the outside, or what the momentary situation is. Have compassion and remember that every human being wants to give and receive love from the day they’re born till the day they die. Love is always the answer — to everything. It’s that simple and that powerful.
- Take care
Take care of your mental and physical health, take care of your needs, your relationships, your community (in that order). Don’t take them for granted and don’t expect them to maintain their best possible condition with no maintenance. Don’t be delusional about clearly harmful stuff like alcohol, cigarettes, sugar, junk food. Find a way to live your life respecting and taking care of your body and soul so that you won’t need that sh*t.
- Be happy
Smile, enjoy the sunlight, move, do things that bring you true joy. Live your life fully and make the time to enjoy all aspects of it. Only a happy and fulfilled you can be the best example for others, the best friend, co-worker, boss, lover, family member, whatever. Understand that you deserve to be happy in your life and don’t wait for any event to make that possible. Make yourself happy right now.
Life is now.
Go live it!
Yammi, you’ll never be a memory. You’ll be my daily fuel, my constantly ringing reminder-bell, the ever-burning fire in my heart. You are alive in me. I love you, and thank you for crossing my path, you Power Woman!