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Carpe Diem

How many times have we heard this saying?  The significance and power behind these two words have been taken away over the years due to its over usage and now “cliché” status.  But there truly isn’t a better way to express the importance of seizing the day and taking advantage of every moment given to you.  Sure we all say we’re going to be that spontaneous, easy going person who we know is how all of us were created to be.  However, when it comes down to it, when one of those opportunities arises and we have that battle going on in our head whether or not to “Carpe Diem” or take the road MOST traveled, we pave that road a hundred times over.  And why?  What stops us from living instead of merely surviving?  I’ll tell you what it is.  It’s our society.  Embarrassment, rejection, failure, judgement, and our self-esteem freezes us into statues of hesitation and doubt.  I’m not going to go to the dance because the other kids are going to laugh at me.  I don’t want to go on this camping trip with my friends because I’m going to miss out on the study session which means I fail the class which means I fail at life.  The last thing I’m about to do is walk up on that stage and make myself look like an idiot singing this stupid Billy Joel ballad for karaoke night.  From a very early age we’ve been taught to analyze everything.  Weigh the pros and cons, think of short and long term effects of each decision that we make, truly think about something before you do it.  But how many stories can you tell about events that came out of a long session of pondering?

The reason this is my blog topic is because I recently felt the rush of making a split-second decision and it was one of the best highlights so far from my adventures in Costa Rica.  I think this event was in the making for a while.  Since spring break, we have been learning choreography to a certain song in our dance class.  We practice this salsa dance twice a week in preparation for the final performance at the end of the semester in front of all of our host families and the community of Santa Ana. Well, this past weekend a few of us were invited by one of the host families to an all-inclusive resort in Tambor, Costa Rica.  The weekend was absolutely amazing and definitely one for the books, but my favorite part happened on the ferry ride back to Puntarenas.  The sun was out, the bar on the boat was hoppin’, and the sea breeze was just cool enough to numb the sunburn that covered us head to toe.  All of a sudden, we hear a familiar tune coming from the speakers of the bar and we knew exactly what we had to do.  So, in an open area on the top deck in front of 60 plus Costa Ricans, three of us did our choreographed routine to Marc Anthony’s “Vivir mi Vida.”  As soon as we started clapping our hands to the beat, a crowd formed and phones started recording these white kids dancing the most subpar salsa in the heat of the sun.  We made mistakes, we goofed up, but we finished and from the roar of the crowd you would’ve thought Marc Anthony himself was performing live.  It was one of the most exhilarating and adrenaline pumping experiences of my life and all it took was a “eh, why not?” decision.

Life’s short.  So unbelievably short.  Too short to be normal and too short not to look like a fool.  Doing things without thinking, to a degree of course, is what this journey is all about.  Our superiors tell us not to do things because they’ve already made those mistakes and know what the outcome is going to be.  But nine times out of ten, those same people wouldn’t trade those mistakes for the world.  Because those mistakes have made them who they are today and they are experiences they’ll cherish for the rest of their lives.  So when that mic gets handed to you on karaoke night and you’re about to politely decline, grab it instead and rock the place to the ground.

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