Live your life. Make it matter. Talk about it. Talk to strangers, talk to friends. Talk to your mom, and your dad. If you’re one of the lucky ones, and you still can, talk to them.
Talk to older people. And little kids. Listen to them as they whisper their regrets, their secrets, their wishes. Listen, because they know a thing or two.
Write the unexpected. Write what you feel. Write, so they will feel what you feel too.
Take some trips. Misbehave with your friends. The ones you’ve known since the beginning of time. Snap a million pictures. Put them everywhere. Post them. Show people your life.
Bring other people into your world. Be annoying about it. Make them know you. Who you are deep down. Make them know you without a filter.
Because you matter.
When people die, we sift through pictures. Little squares of time. And we remember them, our friends. Our family. Exactly how they were. And who they were. In sleds, in lawn chairs, in fields. We remember them holding babies, dressed up, dressed down. In cut-offs and halter tops. In gardens. In uniforms. On beaches, with waves crashing all around. With drinks lifted, toasting. In baseball caps. In wayfarers, holding up fish. Smiling back at us.
We sift through their pictures because they mattered.
Forgive yourself. Make peace with your demons. Release your negative energy. Let it go. Let the wind blow it somewhere else. Forget the wrongs you’ve done. Forget what was done to you. Forgive others, too. Set your intentions. Release your resentment. Stop your sour, disenchanted heart from pumping bad blood. Let your anger float away. Let it drift to a distant land. Let the old, stale residue of past experiences evaporate. Let it vanish into thin air. Let the pungent smell of it dissolve into nothing.
Because your past does not matter anymore.
Do what you say you are going to do. Practice setting yourself free. Cut the strings of the things that tie you down. That keep you on the ground. Follow your dreams. Even when they scare you. Even when you are paralyzed with fear. Let passion put a little something in your step. Believe in yourself. Believe in possibility. Run into the arms of what you want. Don’t hold back. Let your feelings and your ideas and your creativity flood the whole world. Strap wings onto your back. And fly.
Because flying toward what you want matters.
Play with the little child inside yourself. Listen to her voice. Let her dictate your day. Let her be the boss. For once, let her make some of your important decisions.
Remember. Remember everything. Everything about your children, your love, your pets, your parties. Remember the deep belly laughs and the endless hugs. Remember the tears, too. Hold fast to the years as you sail ever onward. Then put your memories aside for a while. Put them in a box and slide them under your bed. Make some room. Room in your heart for growth and opportunity.
Wring yourself out. Twist and shout. Break a few rules. But, only if you have to. Tell the world what you want. Be loud. Open your mouth. Say it kindly. Kindly, say it.
Because kindness always matters.
Believe in God. Or, don’t. Either way, believe in peace. And equality.
Just please believe in something good.
Open yourself up and pour yourself out. Leave it all on the floor. All of it. Make a mess. Cry for love lost. Cry for departed youth. So wasted it was. Cry for time passing, and seasons changing, and things not staying the same. Cry for some of your dumb delusions. Cry at the movies. Cry when the dog dies at the end, and the little child runs into the woods. Cry because you just can’t take the raw beauty of what you see surfacing on a human face. Cry from happiness. Cry from sorrow. Cry because you are afraid. Afraid of what you don’t know, and what you do.
But don’t cry for too long. Dab your tears with a tissue and try to move on.
Make something. Something special. Bake a damn cake. Drizzle it with frosting and powdered sugar. Place it on your grandmother’s silver platter for the world to see. Wait an hour, then cut a huge slice and plop it onto a plate. Devour it. Lick your fingers. Lick your lips. Close your eyes as you chew because it’s so delicious.
Because chocolate cake matters.
Dab on some sexy perfume and seduce the one you love. Use the chocolate cake if you have to. Let him bend you over the bed. Let her love you lights out. Let him desire everything about you. Cradle her face in your hands and look into her eyes. Let him kiss your lashes and bury himself inside your neck. Because you’re beautiful, you know.
Let love radiate from every pore. Let it saturate everything you touch. Make no exceptions for hate. Defend love. Defend it with all your might.
Because love matters more than anything else.
Once in a while, check your motivation. Go for a run. Yes, you can. Believe me, you can. Climb a few hills. Eat them for breakfast. Have them for lunch sometimes too. Stay thirsty. Thirsty for every last drop in that fragile glass bottle of potential that is your life.
Marvel at big things like purple sky sunsets, and black pebble beaches, and red rock canyons. Marvel at small things, like flitting yellow birds and their busy day ways.
Big things matter, but small things matter too.
For heaven’s sake, don’t give up. Don’t ever give up. Use your strength, and every last bit of resolve you have to push yourself across the finish line. Any finish line will do just fine.
Reach out your hands. Stretch out your arms. Beckon with your eyes. Bring people in. Bring them together. Bring people into your sweet, small, love-filled world.
Disarm them with your poetry.
Because poetry matters.
Make them laugh. Leave them laughing. Leave them wiping their eyes and grinning for the rest of the day. Leave them smiling into their pillow at night, just before they drift off to sleep. Leave them wanting just a little bit more.
Because humor matters.
Dance. Dance like nobody’s business. Dance with a flower in your hair, and a pair of strong arms wrapped around your waist. Kick off your shoes. Dance until the stars go blue.
Show them who you are by telling the raw and real truth.
Because honesty matters.
Add a heaping ladle of living to your life.
Make it matter.
Live wildly, freely, and compassionately.
Live generously, spiritedly, and whole.
Live fearlessly and honorably.
Live with fire burning in your soul.
Be noble. Be happy. Do something good.
Set hope in the place where despair once stood.
Because your life? It matters.
And all of it, everything, will be gone in a blink.
My friend, please listen.
Your life –
your blessed, beautiful life –
matters more than you think.