“Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”—John Lennon

Life is short, for all of us. Few of us ever have as much time to accomplish all we want to do with our lives, to determine our purpose for being here, for loving others and learning to accept the beauty of feeling loved in return. Regardless of how many calendars you accumulate, how many decades go by, how much living you’re determined to pack into your life, there’s just this sense of life as a finite experience, a party that’s never quite long enough.

I think this knowledge is why I’ve always been determined not to live life on the sidelines, to truly invest my heart and soul into things, to occasionally leap before I look, speak before I think, act upon nothing but feeling and instinct, have illogical flings and complicated friendships, try on new careers and creations and ideas until I see what fits, and try not to box myself into this idea of who I am supposed to be and where I’m supposed to end up. Even the best map so often doesn’t know, and while you’re busy trying to follow the path, you tend to miss the beauty around you, the possibility of others.

Life is short, and reading this beautiful article was simply heartbreaking. It reminded me to be grateful–for each day, for each person in my life, for each opportunity for something new and different to come along, for each memory, even for each hour spent doing something you’d rather not be doing. Every moment can be beautiful. Every person you make a space for in your life can change it. Every new thing you see or do or create can be the beginning of something important. But none of that happens if you listen to all the excuses not to take chances, not to put yourself out there, not to go on an adventure, not to trust, not to love, not to create, not to let yourself be judged and criticised and hurt and rejected, not to be the most authentic version of you that you can be.

Growing up is hard. Going through that part of your life where you’re now considered a responsible adult, but don’t feel like one, and realising you’re at the age where you once imagined all your questions and uncertainties and quests to “find yourself” would have yielded all the answers you needed by now—and you’re not any closer to understanding yourself, life, or the universe than you were a decade ago— it’s hard. It can be scary and lonely and leave you wondering if you’ll ever figure it out. It can leave you wondering if the chances you take are the right ones, if you invest yourself in others out of a need to follow your heart or just sheer bad judgment, if living differently from what the world expects of you is worth the challenge, if you’re doing the right thing—even when the right thing for you might be the wrong thing for someone else.

Growing up is hard. But it’s immensely preferable to the alternative. That’s why I intend to keep putting myself out there, even when it results in getting hurt. I intend to sometimes make the wrong choices because my heart tells me no matter how hard I try to put things in perspective, intuition and emotion are powerful tools that shouldn’t be ignored. I intend to keep on taking chances, falling harder than I should, wearing my heart on my sleeve and sharing my most personal feelings with the world, starting projects I intend to finish but never do, wasting time watching TV just because I truly love it, and accepting that life is all about enjoying the journey, because nobody’s all that certain about the destination. I intend to live my life as if it is always going to be the opposite of loneliness, because there are no guarantees, and no do-overs.

And,I hope that when I am 35, I throw the best parties. :)