It’s not a contest

It’s not about the number of miles I’ve hiked, the number of peaks I’ve bagged, or about getting the perfect “Gram” shot. For me, it’s about the journey.

We only get one shot at this thing called life. We owe it to ourselves to try and make the most of it. When it all goes to shit, whether that be tomorrow or 20 years from now, I want to look back with no regrets.

At the young age of 64, my Uncle Steve took his last breath. Moments before doing so, he told me he had no regrets, that he and my aunt had taken every trip that they wanted, had visited every place they dreamt of seeing. While it broke me inside to watch a man that I considered to be like a 2nd father to me live the last moments of his life, I was so flipping proud of him for having lived a life that he was content with leaving.

And while he lived a good life, it came at a cost. He served in a war he didn’t volunteer to be in, which changed the course of his life. He married the woman who would forever remain the love of his life; however, his days ended having been the caregiver to her after she had a paralyzing stroke. Through it all, he found a way to be grateful, and to view his life as one to be satisfied with.

Ever since that moment in the hospital saying goodbye to my Uncle Steve, I vowed to live my life. I vowed to take the trips I wanted to take, climb those fucking mountains even though they make my ass pucker the whole way up and down, to hug hard and vocalize my love to those around me even if it makes them uncomfortable. And with every bucket list trip I’ve completed, with every dollar I’ve put towards travel instead of security, as frivolous as it may sound, I can now say….if it all goes to shit…I have no regrets. 

Thank you Uncle Steve and Aunt Robbie for showing me that things weigh us down, that experience frees us, and that living our lives being true to ourselves, no matter how it looks to those outside, is what truly matters most.

And thanks to my bestie, Sophie, for showing me how to enjoy…every…single…moment, no matter how big or how small.

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