At one point this year, I remember telling someone that I was 29. And she looked at me, horrified, and said - don't ever say that again. You look like you're 24.
Yesterday I'm stood by my best friend as she buried her father.
Today I'm going to turn 30.
And you know what?
I'm going to shout it from the rooftops.
Bear with me here. I promise I'm going somewhere with this.
If it's one thing I've realized this week, more than ever, is that life is something to be celebrated.
Life is a gift. One that should be treasured.
My best friend, well, we've been friends since we were ten. It's twenty years of friendship that I've loved and cherished, twenty years of fun and laughter, heartbreak and growing pains - we've seen it all. We've been through it all...
And through it all, our parents have been fixtures in our lives. Rocks. Anchors. Our compass when we needed it the most.
So, it's hard to imagine him not being here, sharing in our milestones as he always has - for her father was a great man.
And even as I type this, the words seem to fall short….for, it's in those times of heartbreak that, sometimes, words just don't seem to be enough.
But, I'll try.
You see, her father was the type of man who made everyone around him feel included. Important. Loved. As my own father said this week - Sam was the type of man who was warm. Loving. He was a guy who you may not have seen everyday, but once you did get together, it was as if time hadn't stopped. He made you feel welcomed.
I've spent the past 72 hours in a funeral home.
…and yet, I've never seen so much love. People came out of the woodwork, it was as if they couldn't do enough to honor and celebrate of the life of this father, son, brother, husband, uncle, nephew, brother-in-law, son-in-law, and friend.
And as heartbreaking this has been, it's also been an extraordinary reminder about what a beautiful life he has led. The past 48 hours have been such a beautiful testament to a great man and a wonderful life.
Lately I've been stressing out about work...
…am I working enough? Am I making the right career decisions? What's the right life/work balance?
If the past 48 hours have taught me anything, it's that I hope to have lived a life like Sam, a life that has touched so many people.
Because at the end of the day, it's not about the success in ones career. It's not about the degrees you earn, the books your publish, the shows you produce, the money you make...
…it's about the lives that your are a part of. The ones that will never be the same after you take your last breath.
…it's about the relationships you make on this earth. Those relationships cause a ripple effect - people are different because they knew you.
See, life will continue, and they'll go on, but they'll fight harder and love stronger because they knew you, but they'll never stop missing you, not for one second.
"Uncle Sam" - he's taught me more about life in this past week than I have learned in my thirty years on this earth...
…so here it goes:
Life is but a fleeting moment. Cherish those that make your heart happy. Never wait for a reason to celebrate - make the reasons for a celebration. Family and friends come before anything else in life - love them. Protect them. Encourage them. Lift them up so that they may be the greatest version of themselves.
Live…and enjoy this life you were given. Never give up on it, never settle for anything less than what makes you happy.
Explore. Adventure. But know the compass that gets you home.
Admire strength, but know that true strength comes from knowing how to let others in - for there is a beauty in the friendship that allows one another to be there in his or her bleakest moments.
Never hesitate to show you love for those who matter most. Love, honor, commitment - these are precious jewels that have no price tag.
We all will miss you.
We all will think of you.
You shall never be far from our hearts.
And if it's one thing I know for certain - the world is better because of man named Sam.