Slide after slide, picture after picture, showed this guy Jacob, and man did this guy live. Pictures of him having the time of his life- hiking, building houses for the needy, taking vacations with his wife, spending time with family…. Picture after picture showing that yes, his life was cut short, but he had taken every ounce of it and made his time worth something on this earth. This person I barely knew lived this full life in the years that God gave to him, and left no regrets or fear on the table. Mike and I had debated attending the funeral because we didn’t really know him, not like our friends did anyway, yet in a day, a strangers memoriam could change the way Mike and I were living our lives.
And that’s when we said yes. We had for years kinda said we were too broke, or too busy working on our career, to do all the things we wanted and, just like that, we decided to stop saying “no” to living and say “yes”.
So we went, and said “yes”. Yes to living life.
We went to Mammoth and did downhill mountain biking and thought we would die. We went to the one of the oldest bars in the country in New Orleans. We flew to Denver to be with my best friend as she started a new life. We floated down the river at midnight telling stories with friends. I hugged my mom tightly, and visited my family more. I’d be on a work trip for a week, exhausted, come home and jump on a plane to meet Mike somewhere new, somewhere fun..because if not now, then when?
We dubbed it the year of adventure, and promised ourselves that we would answer “yes” anytime it beckoned.
The year of adventure carried itself over in so many ways. We stopped eating like shit and took care of ourselves, we had deep conversations about what we wanted from life, what it was taking from us, and we talked about something we hadn’t talked about in our 13 years together: starting a family.
And now we wrap up our year of adventure by going to Europe. The place I never wanted to go because I was too scared. And it made me uncomfortable. And gave me anxiety to be on a plane that long. And isn’t Wyoming just as good? But that’s not what life's about. Life’s about living it with such greatness, and fearlessness and squeezing every damn ounce out of it that you can, saying yes to adventures, and being uncomfortable. One day I’ll have a funeral ( hopefully a long time from now), and I hope my kids, or whoever is there picking out photos can say, “Now that girl Shanelle, she lived”.
May you have your day, year, lifetime of adventure. Starting today.