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On Living Life to the Fullest

Today is my 42nd birthday.

Oh, to be 27 again!

But only in body. Because in mind I was a complete mess. You don't realize it at the time. At 27 you think you've actually got it all together. It isn't until perspective aging provides that you realize you were about as stable as a kaleidoscope.

Sure, 27 was full of fun times. Less responsibilities, more recklessness. A whole lot of gotta live life to the fullest!

But there's something about maturing. Something about tackling another decade - or almost two - something about surviving friendship shifts and parent-teacher conferences and grief and incredible joy that allows you to finally realize that life isn't as simple as just whooping it up to live life to the fullest.

It's more about living life fully with others.

It's more about learning life fully through others.

And it's all about loving life fully through all its tragic moments. 

Living life to the fullest used to mean drinking on the boat every day of the summer because you might die tomorrow and you don't want to waste a second missing out on the fun.

Living life to the fullest now means reaching out with compassion to those that need it because you now understand you contain the capacity to be a change maker in our world and doing anything less is short changing your own life.

Living life to the fullest used to mean trying to get that cute guy you've always had a crush on to go home with you - never mind he's already in a relationship; for some unknown reason you have something to prove.

Living life to the fullest now means realizing you were placed in this particular place and in this particular time to build others up, not tear people down. It isn't a competition; we're all on the same team - and behaving toward others as anything less than respectful is short changing who you were called to be.

Living life to the fullest used to mean concerts every chance you got, spring break follies (even though you graduated college years ago) and going to work hung over because you refuse to start acting like an old fuddy-duddy.

Living life to the fullest now means seeing if you're a bone marrow match and donating blood because it isn't fair that a little girl gets cancer. It's gathering your friends to repaint an elderly widow's house on the nicest weekend of the summer and not even minding that you missed out on that concert because you realize there will always be another concert - but the opportunity to impact someone's life positively is fleeting.

Living life to the fullest used to mean who the hell cares! Life is short!

Living life to the fullest now means finally understanding that what is truly fleeting are the moments we have to spread joy to others. And we choose to spend our time making the world a better place for others, not trampling on others while we race to please ourselves.

Oh, 42. There will always be doubts. There will always be questions. And there will, unfortunately, always be mistakes. But you keep living life to the fullest the right way, and 42 will be a fine, fine year.

And for all you young ones out there - don't worry if you don't understand what I'm saying. Life has a way of teaching you exactly what you need to know when you need it. One way or another. Trust me.

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