Michelle: After I talked to a friend who was so heartbroken—that he contemplated ending his life (but I talked him out of it)—and then saw a post from my uncle that his older brother had died of a heart attack earlier that day, it all the more reinforced my sentiments these past few days about living in the now. Life is short. We can die anytime. Every single day that passes brings us one day closer to our death. My law school classmate, who miraculously recovered from a brain stroke a few years ago, once posted that she is no longer taking anything for granted and considers everything a blessing. She passed away early this year leaving behind her husband and two young kids. Sometimes, we really do not live but just exist because of regret for yesterday and fear of tomorrow. When we don’t recognize blessings because we are either unaware, ungrateful or worse, both, it can be a life of anguish and misery.

DJ: There was a story about three gentlemen who were about to be executed. The executioner aimed at the first man and the guard said, “Ready, aim...” Suddenly, the man shouted “Earthquake!” This startled everyone and so he managed to escape. Then it’s the second man’s turn. “Ready, aim…” And he shouted “Tornado!” Again, this startled everyone and he also escaped. The third man was already smiling because deep down he already knew what to do for him to also escape execution.

“Ready, aim…” And in a loud voice he shouted, “Fire!” Life can pass us by. It helps to pause, take time to savor the moment and sift through life’s experiences and learn our lessons. We gain better perspective, we make better choices and we live better lives if we are grateful.

M: Once there were three ladies who were stranded on an island. The brave one looked at the water to the mainland and estimated that they were about 30 kilometers to shore. She announced that she was going to try to swim to shore. She swam for 10 kilometers but was too tired to go on and so she drowned. The smart one wondered if the brave girl made it. She too decided to swim to the mainland than stay and starve. Having more endurance, she swam 20 kilometers but also became too tired to go on and drowned. Scared about her prolonged exposure to the sun’s harmful rays, the pretty one eventually also decided to swim out and try to reach the mainland. So she swam out 10 kilometers, then 20 and finally 29 kilometers! The shore was already in sight but she said, “I’m too tired to go on” so she swam back. Seriously, it’s been said that most of the things we regret in life are those we failed to do rather than the things we’ve done. As they say, "YOLO" (You Only Live Once). So, seize each day and make each moment count.

DJ: Yes, we only live once but then we only die once. So, go ahead, live life to the fullest. Do not wait for special occasions to celebrate. When you think about it, when is a special occasion? We sometimes keep or forgo things so we can enjoy them for later only to never enjoy or make use of them. On the other hand, we are sometimes too fixated on past blessings that we do not learn to appreciate what we have today in the here and now.

M: To be happy and fully appreciate what we have now, we must live and be grateful for the present moment. Even during difficult moments in our life. As I told my friend, your heartbreak is just a glitch in your otherwise wonderful and blessings-filled life. There are many people who love you. You have made and continue to make a difference in the lives of many. If you focus on your pain, of course, you will always think your life is wasted. But your pain can be your greatest blessing and you can come out a better and stronger person. Yes, life is short. But we don’t have to shorten it further with regrets, guilt or continued misery.

DJ: A few days from now, I will be celebrating my birthday. This made me think about how great it is to live. Life is challenging. But it’s certainly beautiful.

It’s best that we live it as who we are, doing all the good things we need to do while we still can. As a wise woman once told me, “Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter won’t really mind.”