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While I have to admit the phrase “YOLO” gets on my nerves, there is method to the madness.

We are especially reminded to live each moment to its fullest in the wake of tragedies like the recent massacre in Aurora, Colo. You can bet that the victims did not expect to become targets in a movie theater when they woke up that morning.

We never expect something like this to happen … especially to us. It just doesn’t make sense.

When I don’t understand why something happens, I read a lot about it. I somehow think there is an explanation hidden somewhere that I haven’t connected yet. I’ve read a lot about the shootings, and while I can’t pinpoint James Holmes’ logic or reasoning (something we’re still trying to figure out and may never understand), there has been something I’ve read that has deeply affected me.

What you’re about to read is an excerpt from a blog post by Jessica Ghawi, an aspiring sportscaster who was killed in Aurora on that horrible night. She had narrowly escaped a mass shooting at a mall in Canada about a month before and here is what she had to say about that experience:

“I say all the time that every moment we have to live our life is a blessing. So often I have found myself taking it for granted. Every hug from a family member. Every laugh we share with friends. Even the times of solitude are all blessings. Every second of every day is a gift. After Saturday evening, I know I truly understand how blessed I am for each second I am given.”

Her words are powerful and her message is not one we should take lightly.

How often do you take the time to stop and smell the roses? For me, that’s not nearly enough. I’m so focused on getting through each day (and most of the time, looking forward to the time when I can finally put my head on a pillow and sleep), that I forget I’m not in control here.

Regardless of what you believe in, you have to agree that we are not in control of our fates. We ultimately do not control what happens to us and when our time will run away from us. While it’s scary to linger on this thought for too long, it is one that really makes you think about your day-to-day choices and living up to your full potential.

While we can’t do much to prevent a disaster like what happened in Colorado, we can honor those victims by living our lives to the fullest. While their lives have come to a close, we are still on this Earth and have the opportunity to do the things they never did.

It’s hard sometimes to motivate myself to do certain things, but it’s hard not to be motivated when I think about my life within that framework.

Take a breath and be thankful you can breathe. We’ve only got one life to live and this is it!

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