Life Isn’t Measured In Length Alone, but Width as Well

If this article about a gorgeous young man with severe cerebral palsy doesn’t make you cry, you probably don’t have a soul. His deathbed letter is an overwhelming outpouring of love and appreciation from a person who was dealt a comparatively shitty hand in life, but he hasn’t let it keep him from living his life to the fullest. When he realized he was potentially fatally sick, he chose to thank everyone in his life instead of wallow in despair. His whole letter is inspiring, but I was especially touched by this passage:

i learn in a short life that what make the world special are good people like all you. otherwise it just be boring blue rock zipping around the sun looking for trouble. you are all special. all of you unique! love each other and make each other smile. a good joke is good medicine! make sure everyone around you have a smile ok? always do what is right. always! but forgive yourself if you forget sometimes

This man was 24 years old, but he’d figured it out. He knew that life isn’t measured in years, but in the love we give and receive. In doing the right thing, for the right reasons, even if it’s difficult (but not beating yourself up every time you make a mistake). He knew life was measured in the small joys we derive from our uniqueness. He didn’t get a long life, but what a WIDE life he created! Look at the lists of names in his letter, the beauty he was able to see in the people in his life. His wisdom in advising his sister and friend about their heartbreaks, in encouraging his friends to never stop trying to find out what in life was going to make them happy. One year in the life of David Rose may very well have been 5 years in the life of an able-bodied person who didn’t truly live, but rather just existed.

A wide life, something we all should strive for. How much can we pack into each year, month, day, week, moment of living? What makes a life wide? It’s different for everyone. For me, it’s been developing deep relationships, and casting a wide net to find new ones. Even so far as moving halfway around the world, to cast the net ever-wider. To meet and be inspired, tested, hurt, loved, stimulated, and amazed by the people that are put into my life by fate, or life, or God, or whatever you want to call it. I’ve talked a lot about the philosophy of my traveling, but the most important part of it, the people I meet, that’s the hardest part to verbalize. How do you explain how even a small interaction with someone you maybe never see again can profoundly alter the way you look at the world? That’s why I’m out here, doing this. That’s why I’ve chosen to give myself the opportunity to have as many unique experiences with as many unique people that I possibly can. That’s why I allow myself to be open and vulnerable with relative strangers, because there is always something to be gained for opening up to new people. Even if all you gain is lesson, you still were out there, giving everything you can to life because she’s always going to turn around and give back whatever you’ve put in 100-fold.

This blue rock will definitely be a little more boring without the bright light that was David Rose, but his final message has been an inspiration for thousands of people (including me!), and hopefully each of us can shine just a little brighter to make up for it.



3 thoughts on “Life Isn’t Measured In Length Alone, but Width as Well

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