Live for tomorrow
We are young, but we are not invincible.
We are impulsive and daring because we can never imagine that right now is our last moment. We tend to forget that tomorrow is only promised for some.
Over the past year, I’ve heard far too many stories of people dying young. Falling from unknown illnesses and never waking up. Being stabbed to death by someone close to them. Getting in the car with a drunk driver and never returning home. These were people I grew up with, walked the halls with, laughed with. People I planned a future with. Yet I’m standing here today and they aren’t.
I ask myself why, but there are no answers. It’s happening every second in every city, no matter how big or small.
The Oakland fire last Friday that killed 36 people should have all of us thinking. Half of these victims were our age – early and mid-20s. They were just like us; loved photography, worked at Urban Outfitters, had tattoos.
These people wanted a night out to dance. They wanted to listen to music, have drinks and run far away from their miseries while escaping for just a few hours.
But at the end of the night, they weren’t free. They were buried, their bodies hidden under debris. Officials have even asked victims’ families to pull hair from their brushes and other personal belongings to examine DNA.
All they wanted was one night. Now they are nothing more than a memory.
If any of us hear there’s an electronic dance party at an old warehouse, we would all go. No one would imagine there being an uncontrollable fire and no outlet to escape because when we leave our homes at night, we all search for what these victims were searching for:
Freedom. The unknown. An exhilarating thrill.
Yet we ignore our intuition because we are so consumed with the idea that we aren’t living enough. We follow the mass because if one of us is invincible than our entire group is immortal.
We’ve all done it before and nothing has ever happened to us. Of course it wouldn’t happen now.
We want to take risks and feel that our life has meaning. We want to feel loved, feel eager, feel like we have a purpose.
And we can still be free while having control. We can take risks, but we need planning and protection. We have to think about our next move because we are risking our lives every moment of our day.
More people die during the holidays than any other day of the year and there isn’t one reason why. But we shouldn’t question why. We should cherish the time we have with our family and friends and never take these moments for granted. Who we go to sleep to tonight may not be here in the morning. Who we laugh with tomorrow may not be here the next day. We have to love and be smart because our next breath isn’t guaranteed.
Say yes to adventure and say yes to more time with your loved ones. But say no to drunk driving. Say no to a person giving you a random drink. Say no to reckless activities.
My Christmas wish is for all of us to return next semester safe, alive and free of harm. I want us to try the foods we’ve never tasted and see a city we’ve only dreamed of. I want us all to meet new people in our spring classes and clap for every person who walks the stage in May.
We all have plans for tomorrow, for next week, for next year and I hope we all wake up that day to live for them.
Gabriela Julia is the editor in chief and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org