Where Were You Five Years Ago?

How do five years worth of days add up so quickly to become a distant and faded memory?

If you ask someone where they were five years ago, the answers might range from a very vague story about their life then to maybe just an “I don’t know”. However, I can tell you exactly where I was five years ago. Not to the day, not to the hour, not to the minute, but to the very second. February 21st, 2012 is one of the most vivid pictures I’ve ever laid my eyes on. The memories have etched their way into the walls of my mind in the most aggressive and permanent way. Five years is a long time. I don’t remember everything between this date in 2012 and now, but February 21st is different.

I was fifteen, and everyone around me was turning 16 and having their special birthday parties. I was the lead in our high school musical, and I was a varsity cheerleader. I was living everyday fairly fulfilled. But then my mom told me on February 18th, 2o12 that my grandfather seemed to be losing his battle with stage 4 lung cancer after fighting for the last few years. As our family immediately jumped in the car to commute the two and a half hours to NYC, there was silence and anxiety about what was awaiting us upon our arrival.

A few days later, on February 21st, one of the worst things happened to me. Cancer took my grandfather from me and all of those who loved him at 2:58 AM. As traumatic as it was, it was beautiful at the same time. All of us were there with him. We all held one another while still holding him as he passed peacefully in his home. He will forever remain as one of the most inspirational and hard-working people I have ever been blessed to know. My admiration for him and his accomplishments grow everyday. My grandfather changed my life.

But it has been five years.

If you had told me on that day I would lose my grandfather, that my mom would battle cancer or that my aunt would battle two different cancers or that my dad would be retired or that my sister would no longer be a waitress or that her boyfriend would be a licensed massage therapist or that my brother would be wrestling at the collegiate level or that I would be 80 days from graduating college five years into the future, I would not believe you. I would tell you you’re wrong, and that there is no way. I would tell you I wasn’t ready.

Five years after February 21st, 2012, my life is different in ways I never predicted. I wasn’t ready. But I guess life doesn’t ask you when you’re ready, it just expects you to be able to handle it. Looking back, I don’t know how it adds up to five whole years. This all feels like it was yesterday. In five more years, I will be 25, and I don’t want to be this sad then. I don’t want to look at my past as a collection of a couple random memories. I want to live everyday and remember it all. I want to have such emotionally rich experiences that are able to be replayed in my head at any moment. In five years, I want to be able to say I made a blog post that altered my life outlook and how I conduct my daily life.

My grandfather was one of those people who lived everyday. He didn’t just survive, he thrived. He impacted the world around him. The worst part of losing him to cancer was that he was so strong and resilient. He put up a fight that lasted years. No one thought it could bring him down, until it did.

Everyday is worth cherishing. Everyday is worth remembering. For the good or bad or indifferent, do not let another five years pass without living each moment that goes into it. Before the next time you blink, you’ll be five years older.

Where were you five years ago? Where do you want to be in another five years?

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