This weekend I found out a friend of mine passed away. He was my age, I’d known him for almost 20 years. We met in college and then we both wound up living here, in Seattle, 2,000 miles from that campus. We’ve lived in the same neighbourhood for years, but managed never to see each other except through Facebook. I adored him. You know how you have that handful of friends that don’t know each other, but you know if you put them in the same room they would appreciate one another and you could just relax and enjoy watching connections being made? He was one of those friends. I assumed it was just a matter of time before we’d see each other and we would pick up where we left off with no problems. Through Facebook and random emails, I knew what was going on in his life and vice versa. I assumed one of these days life would calm down and we’d get together for a (fake) beer and a long catch up. Then maybe it would be a regular thing. Because he was someone with whom I could be completely comfortable… I think he’d like my husband… I’d probably love his wife…

We have no mutual friends so I have no one to talk to about this. I have been reeling for days from the news of his death and I am astonished by how shocked I am that we’ll never get to have that chat. What was I thinking the past ten years? Did I think everyone would be around forever? Did I really think I could have NO life outside of my job and classes, make no time for friends, and that everyone would be waiting when I was finally available? And did I really think that, without an M.E.-intervention, I would learn to curb my workaholism and find some way to make a comfortable living while simultaneously relaxing and enjoying downtime with loved ones? Yes, I did. I thought one day I would be less busy, less exhausted, less of a hermit and I would enjoy hiking in the mountains and lazy summer BBQs in my garden and shopping at the Sunday market and playing with friends’ kids and road trips down the coast and dinner parties with laughter and music.

This is what I want you all to hear, loud and clear: DO IT NOW. There is no better time. This is it. You may wake up tomorrow with a flu that never goes away. You may wake up tomorrow and someone is missing from your life permanently. I don’t mean this to sound sad or scary; I very much mean this as a celebration of life. This is a trumpet call, an alarm bell, a shaking of the shoulders, a cold bucket of water, LASIK surgery. I want to shout it from the rooftops: Wake up! Focus! Maybe you always wanted to take dance lessons or write a book or learn how to play the piano or visit Italy with your daughter or run a marathon or tell your Dad how much you love him or tell your college roommate what a lifeline she was or meet that old friend for a beer because he was one of the good ones and those connections are few and far between… DO IT NOW.

Maybe you’ll realise that taking these steps will enrich other people’s lives, too.

Live life now.

Love life now.