You only live once, and that doesn’t mean you should Y.O.L.O and not care about anything. In fact, that kind of attitude can turn into one of your greatest regrets. When I was in fourth grade my art teacher taught me more then how to shade and mix colors. One day he stopped the class after breaking up an argument between two students and decided to give us a life lesson.
You should treat everyone like its the last time you will ever see them, he told the class. He told us a story about a terrible argument he had gotten into with a family member and about how that same family member got into a fatal car accident on the way home from the argument.
“That is pain that you cannot imagine”, he told the class, “and it will follow you like a shadow for the rest of your life.”
“One day everyone that you love will be gone,” he said. “So be sure to let those that you love know that you love them and never let them leave in a bad way.”
What he said was a lot for a group of little fourth graders to take in, but the truth in what he said was evident enough for anybody to understand. His wisdom has followed me throughout the years, and I’ve done my best to follow that advice but there have been times when I’ve failed.
There was a night when an ex-girlfriend of mine got into a terrible fight. We had both probably had too much to drink, said or did things that were hurtful. We were both upset, it happens. She drove away in a fury that scared the crap out of me and I became concerned for her safety, and I remembered what my teacher had told me. Instant regret.
She was fine, but the fight wasn’t worth it. The anger and pride wasn’t worth it. That person you love though, they are worth it. They are worth swallowing your pride and anger because one day you won’t have them anymore.
I’ve had several yelling, heated arguments with girlfriends or siblings or friends, and I thank God that nobody ever got hurt, but maybe one day we won’t be so lucky. Everything is impermanent, everything is subject to mujo and although we cannot change the fact that everything comes to an end, we do have the power to influence how it ends.
You can’t predict the future, but you can do and say things that prevent a future that you wouldn’t want to live through like my teacher who has to live with the pain of how things ended with his family member. You can’t stop all suffering from happening, but you can do your best to prevent it by swallowing your pride or your anger and remembering mujo, and then do and say what you would if that would be the last time you saw that person.
You never know because life can change in an instant. Be kind. Be understanding and compassionate even when its hard. Treat everyone like its the last time you’ll see them because it very well could be.