The Greatest Gift of All

Tonight, I ran. I ran till my I couldn’t hear the music in my ears anymore, the words and notes to The Ataris overrode by the pounding of my heart. I ran till I couldn’t feel my feet, whatever pain that was, numbed by the two giant blisters that had sprouted on the sole of my right foot much earlier on at 5km. By the time I reached 12km, I was flying. I was invincible.

Tonight, it dawned on me cold and hard, how fleeting and brief life really is. The realization poured down on me like a bucket of cold water, right down my back when I was least expecting it. Too often we let small, insignificant distractions of life make us forget how beautiful the long road home is. And what a shame, because if we’ll just pull ourselves out of our little narcissistic bubble and take a look around at all that everything else has to offer us, we’ll come to realize that there is so much more to life than we give it credit for.

Tonight, I realized that one missed training run does not ruin an entire training plan. I realized that one bad day does not make a bad life. One misunderstanding which led to a fight does not break or end a relationship. In the same way, one betrayal does not erase all the trust in the good, the hope, the faith in life. In fact, if we are to allow all these trivialities poke holes in our view of how truly, exquisitely beautiful life is, then we are nothing but ungrateful. It would make us nothing but spineless cowards who cower and back away at the smallest prodding of the enemy’s stick.

Tonight, I swore to live life to the fullest – to fill it up to beyond full, until it spilled over the edge, and still I would fill it some more. The past few days proved to me that none of our times here are certain, that at any time of any day, our fragile beings can be snuffed out without so much as a shift in room temperature. Death does not discriminate and it certainly wouldn’t care if you were ready or otherwise when it comes knocking on your door. You can prepare for it, take all sorts of measures to keep it at bay but the truth still remains that when it comes, it comes, regardless of what you have in store for yourself.

Tonight, I realized I am scared. I am scared of death, of dying, of being taken away from this world before I am ready. These are things you do not think about – things you’re not supposed to think about – when you’re only in your early 20’s. Reality however, proves otherwise. We are not too young to die. No one is too anything when it comes to the Grim Reaper. Only the foolish would think they need only worry when they’re sick and grey and old. Sooner or later, it comes for everyone eventually.

But there is one thing we can do in the meantime. We can live as fearlessly and as valiantly as our bodies allow us. We can laugh as raucously and as boisterously as possible to make the most out of our short time here. We can love as passionately and as fervently as we’re meant to as human beings. Life is meant to be celebrated, and what better way to celebrate life than by loving – loving one another and loving ourselves.

Tonight, and every other night from here henceforth, I want to do only what makes me happy, and indulge in only things that is truly worth my time and attention. We are all born with a given set of hours, days, weeks, months, years. It is up to us what to do with it. Will it be filled with colourful days and memories of good, happy things? Or will it be something you want to shove under the bed everytime you look back on it?

Tonight, I am going to celebrate being alive. Tonight, I ran 12km and at the end of it, my heart felt like it was going to burst out of my chest and my legs felt like if I wasn’t careful, they were going to fall right off. But more than that, I felt every breath that my lungs sucked into my being and every trickle of sweat that snaked its way down my neck. I felt cool air against my skin that extinguished the fire on my face and tasted the sweet scent of the night, picked up only by a severely parched tongue desperate for a single drop of water. Being alive was a precious thing, elusive to many, taken for granted by even more. I don’t want to take being alive for granted anymore. Because at the end of the day, being alive is all I have.

Tonight, I want to raise my champagne glass and toast to being young, passionate and lucky enough to be, simply, alive. There are so many sights and sounds to be experienced yet, so much love and joy to be felt. Every new day is gift from which we all stand equal chance to learn more, see more, feel more. I want to make the most of my gifts from now on.

Here’s to life, the greatest gift of all.

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