Perspective is key

County grand jury decides not to indict the cop who shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. In New York, the “killer cop,” Daniel Pantaleo, who placed Eric Garner in a chokehold that resulted in Garner’s death, is also cleared by grand jury, which sparks protest in cities across the country. Citizens march across the Brooklyn Bridge holding signs that read, “Enough is enough,” and “Black lives matter.” Riots ensue in Berkeley and police descend upon the protesters. 

And on top of all this craziness, in the more immediate sense, the stress of finals is upon us. Part time job? Forget about it. Stress galore. We have a lot on our plates, and with the news looking so bleak; it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But here’s my attempt to put all this nonsense into perspective. Ready? We are all dying. There is an invisible clock above our heads and eventually they all hit zero, sometimes unexpectedly. I know this doesn’t seem like good news but allow me to elaborate. 

I understand this is something people already know, but being this age I sometimes have to remind myself that one day, this beautiful world with beautiful people will no longer exist to me. Life will keep going, surely, but I will not be a part of it. 

Death is not something most people think about daily, but I do. During an average week I can expect to commute 48 miles on my bicycle. As much as I enjoy my commutes, all it takes is for one driver to take their eyes off the road for a second or not look twice for a biker in the lane, then poof, my clock may very well reach zero at the age of 23. I would hate nothing more than to die being stressed about work, or school, or whatever craziness was going on. And that’s why death is good news. It’s a reminder to enjoy everyday because it could very well be our last. You can’t have the sweet without the bitter. 

Death allows oneself to really chase what makes them happy. Life is too short for unhappiness.  No time for complaining, for being sad or angry about trivial things or spending time in the wrong places.  One must learn to live passionately and spend time daily doing what they love. It’s necessary to find pleasure in the simple things; a cup of coffee, a book, a beautiful day or a lovely conversation. One must find their passion and implement it in one’s life immediately and I could guarantee, it will be hard to go wrong. 

And in regard to Garner, his unfortunate and unjustifiable death sparked thousands of people to take the streets in protest and demand change. What is this if not a celebration of life? People standing up and saying, “No this is not right, enough is enough, black lives matter,” they understand how precious and delicate life is. 

They refuse to live in a world where police brutalize people because of the color of their skin. Racism is not dead, but we are slowly making progress. The fact that people are protesting is proof of that. 

Soon, this ugliness will be behind us. Finals week for college students will be a thing of the past, or at least until next semester. It’s important to remind ourselves that this will pass. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.  Change is on the horizon.