I saw a video of a car crash on YouTube when I was in middle school. I’ll never forget it. It was a ten-second video of an SUV driving down an icy freeway. The driver lost control after hitting a patch of ice and slid in the opposing lane, colliding headfirst with a semi-truck and subsequently fading into the snowy backdrop.
Then the video was over. Ten seconds was all it took. This driver had no idea that in a split second his life was going to end.
If you think about it, sometimes the only thing that keeps us out of a coffin is the flick of a wrist;.
A sudden glance could mean life or death. I think about this a little too much.
I was one of those kids who got too deep into the Internet at too young of an age which led to me developing an odd relationship with mortality. It makes me realize how precious life is.
I still think back to that day in middle school watching that video. After it happened I immediately jumped out of the window and sat in my freshman year computer class feeling numb. That could be me. That could have been my mother. That could have been the lady in the bank drive-thru that always had a smile on her face and a jar of Dum Dum Pops on her desk (only for well-behaved children, though). In a split second they could leave us, just like the driver in this grim YouTube video.
I took a life lesson from this day and think it’s one I can share with you all.
I try to make every conversation count. When I hug someone, I hold on for a few extra seconds to make up for the hugs that I may not get in the future.
When I laugh with a friend, I laugh a little longer and a little harder than most to compensate for laughs I may miss out on.
The worst feeling ever would be losing a friend or family member and my last memory with them being lackluster and forgettable, so my goodbyes are little more sincere and my hellos are a little more welcoming.
I’ve been emotionally spoiled my whole life. I’ve been blessed with healthy family and friends, along with a little luck along the way.
I don’t really know how to grieve because I’ve never actually had to. This almost makes me feel guilty sometimes.
Some of the sweetest people I know have been toughened by heartbreak over the years from loss of family members.
Honestly, I want to say I have been able to help but I can never come close to their feeling of losing a loved one.
Every time my phone rings, I get a small feeling of dread. It’s usually my mom asking when I’m going to pay off the Visa bill or Papa John’s telling me that they can’t do a quadruple cheese pizza on a three-topping meal deal, but there is always the potential it could be bad news.
That’s the phone call I never want to receive, but too many people I have known have gotten that call.
In the blink of an eye, my world could be shattered after fumbling to unlock my iPhone and offering up a hurried hello while driving.
I have massive amounts of respect for people who are able to stay strong after experiencing that kind of loss.
I’m not entirely sure I would be able to hold myself together. It’s easy for me to say that I would be OK and I would be able to keep myself together, but then I would be contending in a fight when I’m not even in the ring.
If your friend really wants to watch a movie you’ve seen already, it won’t hurt to see it a second time. If someone wants to go to a restaurant you don’t particularly prefer, go and try something new on the menu.
If they come up with a potentially dangerous plan that would simultaneously be super awesome and talked about 10 years from now, make sure someone runs back home to grab some extra bail money.
Experiences turn into memories, and one day memories are all we’re going to have. Like ink on
parchment, they may fade but you will still be able read what is written.
Those words will mean the world to you and you’ll be glad they are there for you to read and remember forever.
Once you realize how quickly life can be taken, these experiences become precious like rubies and coveted like diamonds.
It’s better to look back over all those accumulated extra seconds of hugs or those few extra moments of laughter than missing out on them. Pull people closer. Kiss them longer. Hug them much tighter.
They might not be here tomorrow.
Column by Zac Garrison, Senior from Franklin, Ky.