Live Your Dash

Rebecca Cross, Copy Editor

Write down the day you were born. Then, add 75 years to it and write down that date. In between those two dates, pen a long, solid dash. This is your life.

In these days, you’ll go to school, get a job, maybe marry and have kids, have a midlife crisis, move to a different city, work some more, retire and go on some cool trips. Then, let’s face it, you’ll die.

It’s not my intention to sound morbid, but the reality is that at some point or another we will all die. We may not live 75 years or have a cookie-cutter story, but we will die.

What do you want your dash to represent? Do you want your legacy to be the amount of money you accumulated, the résumé you were able to build or the fun parties you hosted? I don’t. Having fun and gaining experience is good and something I want to incorporate into my life. But, it’s not the purpose of my life or what I want people to remember about me.

When you die, what are the stories you want people to share? Take some time to write down some life goals this new year. Write your eulogy. This is the perfect time.

People our age don’t often talk about the end of their lives. After all, it seems that we have all the time in the world. But, knowing the end goal of your life will help you make bold, confident decisions about how you want to live right here, right now. You’re making decisions in college that will impact your future. What do you want your future to look like?

When I die, I want to be remembered for how I empowered others to believe in something bigger than themselves. I want people to talk about my kindness, my love for others, my willingness to be gracious boldly while fighting for truth.

I’m not perfect, and I don’t pretend to be. I’ve fallen flat on my face more times than I’d like to admit in college. But, there is freedom in making your life about more than yourself. Instead of trying to maintain an image and having your pride hurt when you fail, you should know exactly what path to get back on, and you will learn from your mistakes because you know the end goal.

One of my new favorite poems is “The Dash” by Linda Ellis. It might be dripping in cheese, but it’s true and has challenged me to think differently about each day I live. It’s worth the read.

Ellis says, “For it matters not, how much we own, the cars, the house, the cash. What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash… So, when your eulogy is being read, with your life’s actions to rehash, would you be proud of the things they say about how you spent YOUR dash?”

I want to live my dash well. I want to be a fierce friend, a fierce lover of family and a fierce fighter for truth. Live your life to the fullest, enjoy today and remember that the choices you make right now are important – let’s keep our trajectory in mind.