Do what makes you happy today (assuming you’re not a serial killer or something) because you never know if you will be here tomorrow. Yes, I am trying to be all bright and happy, but everyone gets a reminder of their mortality from time to time. My most recent reminder happens to be linked to the very event that sparked this blog, and this attempt to enjoy every second of life. It makes it all the more important to love life, enjoy yourself, and cherish the time you have with friends and loved ones.
I went to something called the Porcupine Freedom Festival the last week in June. It is about politics to some degree, but the community at this week long event is really where the fun comes in. I left having made new friends, spent one of the best weeks of my life with them, and adopted this positive attitude to bring back to my everyday life, in order to have fun with the otherwise mundane.
Unfortunately upon returning home, last Monday I found out that a new friend of mine who had attended the event for 3 days and sang for a half hour slot on that Wednesday, had died in a car accident on that Friday, once back home in Wisconsin. His name was Drew, and he was 20 years old, and truly one of the most positive people I’ve ever met. He was into music, had a great indie style, made some of his own songs, and covered others—I liked a cover he did of Lady Gaga. We hung out by the campfire for two nights with a few other new friends, and caught up after his set on Wednesday before he headed back home with his dad.
It was the shortest friendship I’ve ever had in my life, and I fully expected to see him again. He was talking about coming back to the coast within a few months and attending PorcFest again in 2015. I intended to keep up with his music; already I was encouraging him to do some open mic nights in Milwaukee, maybe throw another Lady Gaga cover in there, and keep practicing his unique style. It was such a shock, and a very strange feeling to hear that he died just two days after I had last saw, just 5 days after first meeting him. I didn’t know him extremely well or very long—there was simply not enough time, but there was something very pointed about the situation.
I don’t want to make someone’s death all about me, but I want to explain the impact Drew had on me in the short time I knew him. Here was an event we attended, that had such a positive impact on me, influenced me to create a new blog, and take home a whole new enthusiastic attitude on life, partly because of Drew and people like him who I had become friends with at the festival. And then, one of those very people I became close with, part of what made the festival so great, who was inextricably linked to that week, and the impact it had on me, died immediately following the event. There was a piece of that week that I was not going to be reacquainted with, a piece that I couldn’t experience again, that I would never have back, no matter what situation I found myself in.
It was as devastating as it was symbolic. It serves as a reminder, and an influence as I start on this new journey (with this blog as my breadcrumbs) to have a positive attitude, and enjoy every moment in life. I’m so glad I spent those hours with Drew, and was able to have him in my life for what little time was possible. You never know when you, or someone you love, will leave this world; don’t spend the time you have second guessing yourself, or sulking. Drew didn’t: he drove from Milwaukee to play his homemade music in front of strangers, some of whom, like myself, were lucky enough to become his friends. He took a chance, he did what he loved, he put himself out there, he emanated radiant vibes, and he had fun doing it.
I am so grateful I got to meet Drew before he died, and spend some of his last days on earth with him. He may be gone as a person, but the influence he had on me in the very short time I knew him will not fade, and will live on as a piece of me. The positive, funny, warm hearted person that I knew him as would be proud at the opportunity to help others realize their potential, step out of their comfort zones, and live their lives chalk full of energy and passion. Be like Drew, and do this life for you, enjoying every second of it; you may never know how far the ripples you create in this world will spread. Drew jumped into the pool of life doing a cannonball.