A few months ago, a friend from high school who studied at a different university came to visit DLSU. It was probably the third or fourth time for him to visit over the past year, so I didn’t think it was such a special occasion, unlike when friends from abroad or those whom I rarely see come over for lunch. It seemed like it wasn’t anything extraordinary and it didn’t seem like such a special occasion, but I decided to walk out of campus to have a snack with him in the middle of the afternoon.
We caught up together with another friend and we told stories and shared a few jokes before I had to go back into campus for class. Before we parted ways, we took a photo and again, it seemed like just another ordinary day. It was a breath of fresh air seeing a familiar face, and I was glad that I decided to take some time out to see an old friend.
Fast forward to a few days ago, and that very same friend passed away at the young age of 20—the first member of my high school batch to pass away. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing when I first learned about his passing over the phone and it took a few more calls to different people for me to begin accepting it. Known for his loud laughing and shouting, I couldn’t believe that I would never hear his voice again, and I have the exact same tragic feeling every time a family member or friend passes away. I was devastated and it served as a reminder to me that our lives could end at any given moment.
No one really knows when their last day on Earth will be, but I see that as where the beauty of life lies. If we knew when we would die, we would live our lives differently, perhaps some would act more reckless while others would become sentimental. We would live our lives differently with that looming date in mind, and more than anything else, it would make us miserable and full of fear. The unpredictability of our lives makes everything more beautiful and it is up to us to make the most of it, especially because tomorrow might be my last day or maybe even yours.
Aside from my friend from high school, many important people in my life have passed away recently, including my dad a few months ago. These unfortunate events have helped me become stronger though, and I’ve come to realize the importance of carpe diem, which is Latin for “seize the day”. That doesn’t mean that we should act recklessly and get drunk like there’s no tomorrow, but it should instead be a reminder to us that we have to make the most of our opportunities in this life. Take the opportunities that you can, apologize to your enemies, and live life with a smile.
Though many have tried, there is still no way to prevent death but it is within our abilities to prevent regret and remorse. Every conversation with our friends and family should be treated like the last and I have been fortunate enough to have had put this into practice with those in my life who have passed away. When those who are dear to us pass away, we can either cry about the opportunities with them that we have missed or because we remember the fond memories that we have made together. The former is an expression of sorrow and regret, but the latter shows that we have made the most of what little time we have been given together and it is an expression of joy and a representation of the fond memories that were made.
The only certain thing in life is life’s uncertainty. Not knowing when the day of our death is could actually be a blessing and it forces us to make the most out of every day. Our friends and family could be called back into heaven tomorrow, or it might even be we who are called. We might not be able to run away from death, but the best that we can do is to make sure that we are remembered fondly by those in our lives if we died today and that we have no regrets when our loved ones pass away. If today was your last day, would you be happy with the life you’ve lived?