Two weeks ago, a friend of mine passed away. He was young (only 43) and had a lot of life still ahead of him.
I never met Ken in real life, but I had come to know him on Twitter over the last few years. He had a knack for making people laugh, getting people motivated, and just enjoying his space in the Twitterverse. Everyone who knew him on Twitter counted him as a friend; that's just how he was. We friended each other on FaceBook and emailed about acting from time to time. He was always there to offer some advice, encouragement, or make a quick joke to liven the mood. Even though I had never shook his hand, I would often forget that I had only ever met him electronically.
It's interesting how you can come to know people without meeting them face-to-face. I've got a few friends I've known via the Internet that I've never met face-to-face, and they're still dear friends to me.
What's strange is how out-of-nowhere this appears to be. Ken was very healthy; often he would Tweet about going to the gym, improving his workout, and staying active. So why is it we lost him at such at young age? There's no way to tell the reasons, or even if there really is one. Sometimes we just have to be okay with not knowing the answers.
It really makes you think of taking a hold of your destiny. Who knows why some people smoke, drink, are jerks and live to be 98 years old while others who take good care of themselves and are greatly compassionate live to only 21 years old. Where's the reason? Where's the fairness? That's one of the things that makes life exciting and beautiful- it's completely unpredictable, and we're here to enjoy the ride to the fullest and spread love and joy to others as best we can.
We don't have a choice of how old we will live to be. We can prolong our lives by taking care of our health, but that doesn't prevent accidents and other things from happening. (Not that I'm saying we should disregard our health- being healthy is the best way to enjoy life!) What we can control is what we do with our life, what we make of ourselves, how we treat others, and how happy we are.
Happiness isn't in the circumstances; it's in the heart. It's a conscious choice, and one that many ignore when they constantly want more or look at the negative side of life. I forget what it was I was watching, but there was a man who had been in a serious accident and lost his leg below the knee. He said "I can look at this one of two ways: I can be bitter because I almost died and lost my leg, or I can be grateful because I survived and only lost a leg."
There's a boldness is not adhering to what is expected of you and taking the easy route in life. So many people just fall into what they think they're supposed to do and float through life instead of taking risks and going for their dreams. Why? There is no do-overs, no second chances; you only get to live this life once. There's an audacity in saying "You know what? I don't want to have this steady job where I work 9 to 5 in an office and get a paycheck every week from something mundane and boring. I'm passionate about painting and sculpting- I'm going to do that, and I'm going to make a living doing it!"
When I realized I wanted to be a writer and an actress, it didn't take long to realize I had fallen in love with two of the hardest professions there are to be successful at. Millions and millions of people want to be writers; millions and millions of people want to be actors; few actually get to make one or the other their life's work, and here I am trying to do BOTH in the long run. Wanting two careers that are so difficult and with such slim odds of success is probably the scariest thing I've ever done (and I've been skydiving)! Maybe I'm a fool, but at least I get a sense of fulfillment every day. When my time comes, I want to look back and saw how awesome my life was, how much fun I had, and that I took every chance I got to share love with others.
We spend so much time worrying about things that we forget to do what makes us happy. Ken always seemed so happy, so positive, so excited about everything, and so willing to spread those feelings. People like him, who radiate genuine positivity, are hard to come by.
What do you love to do? Are you doing it, or pursuing routes to be able to do it? If not, why? If not now, then when?
Life is beautiful, and your time is a limited edition. Spend it wisely!
"It's not the years in your life that count; it's the life in your years."