One of the oldest expressions in the book is, “life is short.” We have all heard that expression and unfortunately sometimes it usually takes tragedy to be reminded of that phrase. When I heard the news of a helicopter crash in California that took the lives of nine people including NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, I froze. For the first time in my life I felt pure shock and grief over a person I did not personally know.
Imagine the impact a man could have over the world that they could make the world stand still like that. People all over the world mourned with memorials, photos, videos, murals and more. With all the star power that L.A has, Kobe made the city stand still for a moment. That is pretty incredible when you think about and although I have been filled with a lot of emotions over the past few days, only one comes to mind. Gratitude.
I am grateful to be alive today. I am grateful to be writing this article and to be chasing a dream. I am grateful to have a loving family, incredible friends and a girlfriend that I absolutely adore. That is what life is all about at the end of the day, isn’t it? Appreciating what we have and enjoying every second before it is our time to go. The hardest part about it is that we have no idea when that will happen. To put it simply, if it can happen to Kobe Bryant, it can happen to any of us.
This all brings me back to my original point. Life is short. None of us have any idea how long we have got, so we might as well fill our time doing what we love. One thing that is universally loved by everybody is being happy. That is not an opinion but a biological fact. Smiling is contagious and nearly everybody would rather smile then be sad. So spend your time on earth doing what makes you happy. Go on that vacation to Walt Disney World. Take a weekend trip to the coast with a person you love or spend a little bit more money then you have if need be.
A friend of mine recently told me that money comes and goes. I know that is a simple phrase but I try to live my life that way. My girlfriend and I moved down to Orlando last January and after a year of living here and going to Disney World, Universal Studios and exploring Florida, I am starting to understand the phrase more personally. If I look back on the past year of my life, perhaps I could have stayed in more. Perhaps I could have not booked those Disney hotel rooms when I live 25 minutes away. Perhaps I could have not gone to EPCOT approximately 40 times but I don’t regret any of it. Traveling makes me happy. Disney makes my girlfriend happy and I have my entire life to make money and stay in.
I started thinking about how my mind got to this point and I actually attribute it all to my mother. When I was a kid, we were lucky to go on a big Disney trip every single year. My mom would plan it all out to the exact minute. We got to stay in nearly every Disney Resort, try all sorts of restaurants and had busy itineraries that always kept us moving. We also did all sorts of other traveling. Between all of my family spread out across the world, I got to see so many amazing places at such a young age and I am so thankful.
My Mother loves Disney. She called it “her happy place” and although I never loved it like she did or my girlfriend did, I understand it. Disney World is a place of joy and life can get so dull. Life can be so hard and yet going there to a place designed to make you happy is a remarkable experience. Whether it is a family trip, a honeymoon a friends trip or a date night, everywhere you look you will find happy people. How many places on earth can you go that offers that?
I still remember on perhaps my 5th or 6th family trip to Disney World asking my mother a question. I looked up at her and said, “Mom why do we take all of these trips instead of getting nicer cars or a nicer house?” She then looked at me and said, “Life is short and I am not going to be here forever. You wouldn’t remember that nicer car or nicer house. All we have are memories and you will remember these trips.”
I needed to learn that lesson at a young age so that I could have that mindset now. My friends make fun of me saying, “You want to pretend life is one constant vacation.” To those people I do not deny that. Life is fun on vacation. Life is fun at Disney World. Life is fun when you are with friends and family and smiling wherever that may be. To me the point of life is to smile. Smile as much as we can and for as long as we can before we are no longer around.
The next time you battle in your mind whether you should spend that extra bit of money and go on a trip, I advise you to do it. If you can spend it, spend it. Money comes back to you eventually but time does not. Whether it is Disney World or the beach or skiing on a mountain. Build memories and a life worth living. As my mother told me, all we have are memories. Go build some wherever and whenever you can and do not ever regret for a second doing so. You are not going to remember that night you spent on the couch but maybe you will remember the night doing something fun with some family or friends.
Smile for as long as you can until you can’t any longer and never regret that trip that made you smile the whole time.
Rest in Peace to Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant, Alyssa Altobelli, John Altobelli, Kerry Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester and Ara Zoboyan.