Tragedies remind us how fragile life is

Early Sunday morning, there was a fatal wrong-way crash on southbound I-75 near 14 Mile Road in Troy, Mich. Both the 26-year-old Troy man, whose vehicle was hit, and the 34-year-old Detroit woman, who was driving the wrong way on the expressway, were killed in the accident.

I was driving that same part of I-75 about an hour and half before that crash. If I would've stayed at my friend's house a little bit longer before driving home, that could have been me.

I saw a friend's post on social media yesterday: "Leaving your home and getting back safely is such an underrated blessing."

This was in reference to another, more publicized tragedy on Sunday. Around 9:45 a.m. Jan. 26, a helicopter crashed into a hillside in Calabasas, Calif. All nine people on-board were killed — NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna; pilot Ara Zobayan; Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri and youngest daughter Alyssa; Mamba Academy assistant basketball coach Christina Mauser; and Mamba player Payton Chester and her mom Sarah.

Every day, approximately 7,452 people die in the U.S., according to the United Nations World Population Prospects. That's about one person every 12 seconds. While you are probably hoping to die peacefully in bed at an old age, many of those deaths are sudden — suicides, heart attacks, overdoses, fires, falls, and car and plane crashes. And, every day, there are millions more left behind, mourning the death of a loved one.

As actress Keshia Knight Pulliam said, "Hearing the news about Kobe Bryant's death completely broke my heart. Not because we lost a champion, which he definitely will always be, but because his family lost a husband, father and son. We often use phrases like, 'Tomorrow is not promised.' For real it is NOT."

The tragedies over the weekend — the car accident near me, the helicopter crash in California and all
the other deaths around the world — remind us of how fragile and fleeting life really is. All the little setbacks that we let ruin our days and all of the stupid arguments we get into with the people we love — it all seems so pointless when we think about the bigger picture.

Sure, if I think too hard about it, it makes me want to get all my food delivered to my doorstep so I never have to leave my house, drive or take any risks. But that's definitely not what I'm suggesting!

What I am suggesting is that you stop taking life for granted because it's not something you'll have forever. Take chances. Travel. Quit a job if you hate it. Cut out people who treat you badly and make you feel like crap about yourself. Say "I love you" to the one you love, even if you've never said it to them before. Tell those you care about how much they mean to you. And live a big, Kobe Bryant-sized life.

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