Speak Now , Live Now

Cory Montieth, 31, died in July this year. Paul Walker, 40, died in a car crash on November 30. Someone else I know, 23, is battling for his life for over three months now. It’s sad. It’s depressing. It’s shocking, really. None of them ever thought this would happen to them… Their age makes me think “For all you know, it could be me..” What if it does end up being me?

Before YOLO became the biggest thing on the internet. Before I knew anything about the internet, an incident.. or should I say disaster?.. changed my life, changed the way I live it.

December 26, 2004.. Earthquakes and a Tsunami destroyed lives, destroyed families, destroyed homes..

I was supposed to be at the beach with my father that morning, but I’d overslept. I woke up and jumped with joy about leaving and my parents told me there’d been a Tsunami. I had no idea what it meant but with time, I understood it and I wished I hadn’t..

I’ll never forget what it did to me. I remember the TV ads asking for help. I remember switching channels because I couldn’t listen to that music, couldn’t watch those images. I remember crying under my blankets praying for those lives and those children who just lost their parents.. I remember my mother telling me about this woman who’d killed herself out of depression, a child who’d had a heart attack because the ads were too depressing. I remember wanting to help those kids. I even took a bag of my clothes and went to the beach, to the families living in tents on the streets because their houses were gone. I gave them clothes and in minutes, my car was surrounded by kids asking for food and clothes.. I was terrified, depressed, pissed with the universe..

How many people woke up that day with plans? How many had had a fight the previous night and told themselves “Today, I’ll fix it..” but never got the chance to? For one second, forget the dead.. Imagine the ones sitting at home who never got to tell their loved ones “I love you” “I forgive you” “I need you” “I miss you”..  Praying they were the ones dead and not the other person.. Hoping that the people searching the waters find their loved ones’ body so they could go ahead and do what they had to? Imagine waking up late on a Sunday morning, turning on the TV and realizing, your friend, your family, someone you know was probably dead by now. I always imagine someone with a coffee cup turning on the TV and dropping that cup with shock..

I swore to myself, it doesn’t matter if the other person doesn’t want to hear it. I’ll always tell everyone – the ones I like, the ones I love, the ones I hate – how I feel about them. I will never miss an opportunity. I will make the most out of my life. As a teenager, all it did for me was get me into trouble. But with time, experience and a lot of mistakes, I’ve learnt to fine tune that attitude. I’ve learnt what LIVE NOW means to me. What SPEAK NOW means to me.

It may not always mean the same to everyone. But to me, Live Now means doing something with my life. Helping myself and everyone else around me. I’ve learnt that Live Now does not mean I have to go bungee jumping and skydiving as soon as possible. It means I need to help the ones in need. So even if I’m gone, I would’ve made a better life for someone who gets to live.

And as for Speak Now, it doesn’t matter whether it’s my parents, my siblings or just a crush, I have and will continue to tell them what they mean to me. I’ll tell them how much I care and how important they are to me. I’ve learnt to keep the hate to myself though – Because if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything..

So here’s a piece of advise to anyone that’s reading.. Do you have a dying need to do something – for yourself or anyone around you? Do it today. If it’s a long-term plan, start working on it. Do you have a loved one? Tell them today. What if you never get another chance?

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