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This past week, I lost someone very dear to me.

I had spent the entire day at school, either in class or at meetings, re-immersing myself in the world of ASU. My mind was busy with buying books, making classes on time, clubs I was interested in and, of course, pretty girls.

By the time I got home and the news hit me, all of the previous twelve or so hours faded into trivial oblivion.

In the following days, I wore a black armband to commemorate her loss; partly to remind me of her presence, partly to remind me of how easily I’d lost sight of that presence.

I knew she was sick, and that the end could come any time. But I didn’t think about her inevitable death solely because I didn’t want to think about it.

Yet it happened anyway.

Life, however, continues onwards, whether I’m ready or not. Throughout this week, I have been continually struck with a combination of sadness and detachment.

I feel regret that I didn’t fully appreciate that which matters, not just in the passing of my friend, but throughout my life. I feel regret at walking through life with selective tunnel vision, focused on the flashy and immediate instead of the beauty I already know and love.

However, the experience hasn’t been entirely negative; I also feel a strange and powerful appreciation and acceptance.

Existence really does play by its own rules, and we all must come to terms with that which is out of our realm of control.

In the end, despite the pain I feel now, I know I am a very lucky man.

Our lifestyles often perpetuate a busy schedule, and many of us end up involved in so many activities, attitudes, and “obligations” we forget who we are, where we’ve come from, and who has helped us shape that identity. Those closest to us, our families and close friends, appear to be guarantees, as running constants in a vastly changing life.

I assure you, they are no more constant than a single wave on a shore.

In the upcoming days, look around at your friends and family. Slow down, collect your thoughts and busy schedule; listen to their words, pay attention to their actions, and appreciate that, for the moment, you are together.

You have been allowed that moment to share each other’s lives.

And that’s the only guarantee, really; a series of moments, to be appreciated one by one until they’re gone.

Because when those moments end, all you’re left with are memories, a picture-like shadow of what once existed in reality.

We may have our memories, but we cannot replace what has been lost. We cannot take it with us.

But we can appreciate it while we have it.

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