I have been thinking a lot lately in regards to how I spend my time. Ashley's death made me completely change my outlook on how I live my life, it's sad to think a death was what allowed me to see life through a different lens… so with this post, my hopes are that I can reach out to others, and teach them to live their life to the fullest and not wait for a traumatic experience to do the job. Before Ashley's death, I was a 'home body', don't get me wrong.. I did go out with my friends at times, but mostly I stayed in because I was tired,lazy, plans came up too suddenly, or I just did not want to do something outside of my comfort zone. This has changed. Now I make every effort to go be with one ones I love… sometimes I stay out late and the next morning is terrible, but THATS OK. I would rather have that one terrible day of feeling exhausted, then not being able to make the memories I do when I am with the people I love. I am twenty three years old, it is okay if I make a long drive into Boston late at night because sudden and new plans came up. It is okay to go out late and wake up early. I am young, I want these memories. I want to look back at life and see I spent it, maybe not wisely, but enjoyably. I see many people my age still doing what I did before Ashley passed… staying in and sleeping, or not doing something because its out of their comfort zone… and all I can say is stop. I have seen life taken from this world far too early, even though the saying 'you only live once' is cliche, it is true. Life is a beautiful thing, grasp every single experience you can, and enjoy it. Forget all the excuses you want to dish out, and just GO. Laugh, stay up late, make memories. Yeah, some experiences may not be the best, but I want to look back on life and say 'at least I tried it' rather then looking back to many nights of me staying in and getting lots of sleep. The years pass by so quickly, and time shows no sign of slowing down, so I challenge you to take the next plans you are offered… whether it sounds lame, intimidating, or whatever the excuse you have, and just go! Maybe someone you are going with you don't completely enjoy being around...get over it. No one is saying you have to hold hands with that individual, you don't even have to see them again after, but don't avoid doing things because of that. This summer, for me, has been full of wonderful memories, times that I will forever cherish.. with the people I love. I could have easily said no to all my plans and sat at home, but instead I went out and lived, and I wouldn't take any of it back. Ashley has taught me to enjoy life.
Also, on a completely other note, an editor read through my book, and one of the things said was truly touching, and makes me hopeful that others will enjoy my work….
"The words and reality of your story are devastatingly real, very sad, and proudly authentic. My heart breaks for you. I'm hopeful and confident your writing will be a fruitful source of therapy, inspiration and direction."