living and dying

i’m supposed to be doing homework. Instead, I’m sitting on my couch, in the silence.

A pumpkin candle is burning, kids’ laughter is wafting through my screen door. I should be reading a chapter on “the graphic effects of industrial production.”

instead, i’m thinking about what life would be like if i had a fatal disease. instead, i’m thinking about all the things I still want to do with my life.

And I realize, if I knew I was dying, my life would look completely different.

I would drop out of school. I would go for incredibly long runs in the park, on an autumn day like today. I would knock on my neighbors’ door and give them cookies I baked. I would move home and live with my family. I would cry everyday, and I would laugh a hundredfold as much as I cry.

I would call the girl who used to be my best friend and apologize. I would tell her I love her and never meant to hurt her.

I would spend my life savings (which isn’t much) on a plane ticket to Australia, so I could pet a kangaroo and eat crocodile and snorkle in the Great Barrier Reef. I would go clubbing completely sober until seven in the morning, where I would crowd surf then watch the sun rise then walk home.

There are so many things left for me to do. I want to go sky diving. I want to jump off a bridge. I want to be on a game show. I want to adopt a bassett hound and name him Edison.

I want to have my dad walk me down the aisle in a white, one-room church. I want to marry the love of my life and make love. I want to have a baby, and cry when I see her face. I want to carry on the legacy of the middle name of Elizabeth. I want to watch my children grow up and be passionate for the Lord. I want to watch them do all these things.

I want to make mistakes and learn from them. I want to live and help others live. I want to be loved and love. I’m not ready to die, but neither are the thousands of people who don’t have a fatal disease, who don’t have a choice.

While i don’t get to choose my next week, day, or even moment, I do get to choose now. And I’m choosing to live like this.

Yes, there will be homework, and I will have to read this chapter on industrialization. But tonight, I can choose to be happy. I can choose to make a new friend, dance without a worry in the world, laugh until I cry.

I choose happiness. I choose life.

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