By: Ethan Maurice
“Don't try to outsmart me,” I yell at my dad. “I know you're cheating!” He isn't. He's just standing at the foot of the bed, glad his son is alive.
A nurse walks by in the hallway, her reflection momentarily flashes across the window to the courtyard. “Why is the nurse outside?” I ask him. He attempts to explain it's her reflection, but I hear none of it.
Something's wrong. Within seconds, I've lost control. Tremors start in my hands as fear violently grips me. My fingernails force themselves into the palms of my hands and my toes vice grip the bed sheet. Tremors develop into a rhythmic shaking throughout my body that exponentially ramps into forceful convulsions. Every fiber of muscle fires and recoils in a violent ferocity as I'm powerfully ripped back and forth with ever increasing intensity. In a tenth of a second, my universe rushes to a single point and not unlike the moment before the explosion of a star, I'm gone.
It's funny how the worst moments of our lives can inspire the best.
The moment someone is diagnosed with a terminal illness, there is an immediate change in thought. No longer does one live for the future, they live for the present. Suddenly it's not, I want to go skydiving someday, it's I'm going skydiving. That friend they'd be meaning to reconcile with for all those years, gets a call. The important things in life become unquestionably clear and everything else falls to the wayside. Even the simplest acts becomes miracles. A sunset, so beautiful, it brings them to tears. In those final days, they live.
The only guarantee of life is death. Everyone one of us was born to die. With that understanding, why don't we live like those who know they're on the way out soon?
The narrative above is not of one dying. It's my all-too-vivid recollection of being overtaken by a grand mal seizure. For a week's worth of time, it's my only memory. A viral infection of my brain and spinal fluid caused a stroke, seizures, and left me in a coma for three days. It nearly killed me.
A couple years passed before I fully recovered from the brain damage. One day, it hit me—I had narrowly escaped death. I could have died right there, and the saddest thing was, in the sixteen years previous to that moment, I hadn't really lived.
Not unlike those diagnosed with a terminal illness, something changed—I understood the value of the present. I almost didn't make it to my seventeenth birthday. Who knew if I would ever make it to that someday when I finally start living?
So, I began to live.
I left my comfort zone. I kissed a girl. I partied with new-found friends. I found adventure in snowboarding, backpacking, cliff jumping, and river rafting. I took it up a notch, riding a bicycle 4,450 miles across the entire continent of North America. I backpacked for three weeks in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. I earned a bachelors degree in Biomedical Science, graduating with a 3.88 GPA. I appeared on the news over a dozen times, on my universities homepage, and raised over $100,000 for two incredible causes. Now, when you google my name, all sorts of stuff comes up about me.
I say these things purely to make a point: I would have spent my life passively existing, not living, had I not brushed with death.
The worst moments of my life had inspired the best.
Here's the thing—most people aren't fortunate enough to realize how precious their time is until it's too late. Until death stares them down. They have ideas and dreams they hope the stars will align for someday. They think about them often. Yet, they never act.
I used to think I wanted to be a doctor. I wanted to save lives. One day, on our cross country bike ride, I opened up to my brother out in the middle-of-nowhere Wyoming, explaining my theory of living to him. He didn't respond for a full minute, and then said something profound:
“If you want to save people's lives, why don't you do it while they still have time to live?”
This site, is my attempt.