It’s kind of silly, really. It’s a little band of silicone around my wrist, bright green. I wear it every day, though, to remind myself.
A good friend of mine passed away this July, just a month before her twenty-second birthday. We met in speech-and-debate in high school and spent countless hours together after school writing debate cases, at tournaments on weekends, and at things like concerts and bon fires on the beach. We grew up together, through high school and college; she was hard-headed through high school and so was I, so we argued incessantly about anything and everything. We grew up together, through times when we couldn’t stand each other, and times, like the past year, where we simply enjoyed talking and being around each other. Talking about school, issues we had, what we wanted to accomplish, and how excited she was for law school.
She was one of those people that occasionally you just can’t stand, but you love, because they’re honest and there’s no bullshit. She didn’t hide anything she did, or try to mask what she had to say in nice words—she said what she thought was true, and that was that. If she thought you were being an asshole, that’s what she said. And if she was truly happy with something, you knew it. Because if she said it, that’s what she thought. No questions or interpretation needed.
Her and I stopped talking for a while after high school, due both to a petty disagreement we had and the natural course of going to separate schools, different paths. In the last two years, though, we began talking and seeing each other often. We would get breakfast every few weeks and talk, about the meaningful and the meaningless, for a couple of hours. I loved these little breakfasts because she was such an enthusiastic person, so happy to be alive, to have the chance to live and do something great. And that’s what she did. With everything she did, she did it well. School, work, getting into shape, making memories with her boyfriend and friends—and not because she was one of those people who could accomplish anything effortlessly, but because she threw herself into whatever it was and worked her ass off at it, and never gave up, even when it was hard and tiring.
I don’t wear the wristband to remember her or what happened to her. God knows I will never need someone or something to remind me. I wear it because every morning I put it on, and every time I see it, it reminds me of how she lived, and how little time we have. It reminds me that she never made excuses for herself, and that she took advantage of every day she had to be successful and to enjoy the blessings she had. It reminds me of how excited she was to have the chance to do something truly great with her time here.
And it reminds me that I, too, have that chance, and that I don’t want to spend another day not appreciating the wonderful people in my life and and not using it to do something great. I have that chance, and I’m going to take advantage of it.