Let us begin. (Photo credit: Pensive Pilcrow.)

Let us begin. (Photo credit: Pensive Pilcrow.)

Life is short. This cliché has been said countless times in millions of different ways, making it easy to dismiss… until you glimpse it every day.

I started the Pep Tweet Project a little over a month ago. The idea is simple: tweet little messages of encouragement to complete strangers who need it. Since it began on March 10, I’ve reached out to almost 100 people who tweeted various things such as asking for luck on exams, requesting prayers for a sick relative in the hospital, or venting about a bad day. My “pep tweets” aren’t always acknowledged, but that’s ok because that isn’t the point. If even one person a day–a week–gets some wind back in his or her sails from a tweet that took me 60 seconds or less, the project is fulfilling its purpose.

What I didn’t bargain for were some life lessons for myself in all of this. In reaching out to folks, I’ve noticed a recurring theme of life being short–sometimes extremely short. I’ve seen myriad people talking about lives being snuffed out early and abruptly, often when those lives had so much more to give. It’s been a jarring reminder that we don’t know what tomorrow holds. We take minutes, hours, entire lifetimes for granted. We bitch and moan about the smallest of meaningless things. We put off telling a loved one how deeply we care, thinking we have another day and another.

The Pep Tweet Project has forced me to ruminate on the kinds of relationships I’m nurturing in my life and the legacy I am crafting for myself. If I died tomorrow, would I be satisfied with my work in this world thus far? Would there be words regretfully unsaid or acts of kindness remorsefully left undone? Would I take moments back, longing to spend that time in a different way?

What I’m saying has been said before. This is nothing new to you. But the Universe likes to send us little reminders every once in a while; perhaps this is yours. It’s easier to let the hustle/bustle of life push the important-yet-everyday stuff to the back burner than it is to make it a constant priority. But make yourself a note if you have to. Schedule it in your calendar. Tie a string around your finger. Tattoo it on your heart.

Because this is the stuff life is truly made of. Not money, things, or how someone did you wrong. In the end, you’re left with how much you loved and how much you were loved in return. That love is how we live on–even after we are gone.

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