A few weeks ago I noticed a tweet on Twitter with #YOLO in it. I thought, "great another acronym that I have to learn that is pointless." I looked it up online though to find out it's meaning, YOLO stands for You Only Live Once. At the time I thought it was rather silly, and frankly the friend that used it initially used it about their first time eating sushi. (Just a reminder, I rather enjoy sushi and think it's great. Although I am picky about it, lol.) YOLO came back to my mind this weekend with the theater shooting in Colorado.
In case you are living under a rock, or maybe another country, on July 20th a gunman entered into a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado opening fire on the patrons watching the new Batman movie. Twelve people died, and 70 were injured. The 24 year old gunman was detained and when he told the police where he lived he also informed them that his apartment was bobby-trapped. It took officials 2 days to safely remove the traps from his home.
Many of you know I now live in Denver, Colorado. What a lot of people don't know is just how close I am to where all of this happened. I live two blocks away from the Denver/Aurora city limits. I am ten minutes away from the theater. As a matter of fact, I was just at that theater to see a movie, and around the area Wednesday running errands. Although I'm not a fan of the Batman franchise as what it has become, I have attended midnight showings of movies before. All of a sudden, for the first time, a mass tragedy was literally in my own backyard. That alone is soul shaking.
Friday as events played out, and the local news remained on air all day, more was learned about the victims and the gunman. One of the first victims identified to the public was Jessica Ghawi "Redfield". She had moved to Colorado from Texas about a year ago to pursue her dream of becoming a sportscaster, although she hadn't achieved her dream yet, she was interning for a sports channel. This story hit me rather hard, although all of the lives lost are tragic, Jessica's story is far to close to my own. She came to Colorado to begin a new life and chase her dream, just like I have. I don't know if it was more upsetting to me that she hadn't yet achieved her dream, or that I fear I won't achieve my own. Regardless, YOLO now had a new meaning for me.
Things happen in the world that are tragic, there is no doubt about that, how we respond to them though is what really matters. Many people will look at what happened here in Colorado as a scary thing, that will prevent them from doing the things that they love. If we do that though, the gunman wins, even when he is behind bars. Living your life in fear, is not living your life at all. The other option is that you realize that you really do only live once, and that doesn't just mean trying sushi for the first time, but doing the things you've always wanted to do and not waiting for your dreams to come to you, but going and getting them yourself.
It's been far too long since I've done anything on my bucket list, it's also been too long since I've set a goal for myself and seen it through. I only live once, and I intend to make this life rather awesome so it's about time I do something about that rather than just hoping it happens on its own. So here's my plan, I want to complete something on my bucket list before the end of summer, and I want to set a goal to begin running more regularly again. I don't know what thing I want to do on my bucket list, although climbing one of the many mountains around here sounds fun, and I don't know how long it will take to begin running again. Like I've said before, when I begin to get things together in one aspect of my life, others just seem to fall into place too. I've allowed far too many things to fall out of place, and it's time to get them back where they belong, and live my one and only life the way I want too.
I don't know if the 12 individuals who died Friday were happy with their lives where they were at, but I do know that so many of us have things we want to do that we are to afraid to do, or see through. I choose to look at tragedies like this as a reminder that you only live once, and you need to make every moment that you are given count.