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Thursday, May 23, 2024

We live in a world full of myths. Never mind the tales of full-grown, orphaned men laying waste to our city streets in fighting over who can pull off the better tights-and-cape combo, or the tales of bewildered country leaders decrying man-induced climate change a hoax by bringing a snowball onto the Senate floor during a committee hearing. (Wait, that might have actually happened last year with a certain Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla.)

No, what we’re highlighting is the collection of certain untruths commonly accepted as true without further investigation, such as the widespread myth of invulnerability. This myth should be quite familiar to us all. It’s the mental checklist many of us unconsciously run through: Yes, bad things happen in this world, but nothing should really happen to us, right? It’s also inherent in the assumption one will live a long, thorough life and die peacefully from old age — unless you’re like Kanye West, hung up on the whole immortality thing.

Is it bad to bank on such a long, prosperous life? No. But the potential danger therein is not seriously considering just how fragile our lives truly are. In the few short days since we discussed the attacks in Belgium and Turkey, two more attacks of Islamic terror devastated innocents: an Islamic State attack at a soccer ceremony in Iskandariya, Iraq, and a Taliban attack on a major park in Lahore, Pakistan. Such attacks seem “way over there,” but they’re really not so far removed: a number of our community’s students are from Iraq and Pakistan, and some even have families currently living in Lahore.

As for our home turf, just last Thursday morning a former UF student and son of a professor died in a motorcycle crash on Archer Road. Moreover, a three-car accident Sunday afternoon on State Road 26 injured nine people and left a 6-year-old dead.

Our point in addressing all this isn’t to bring you down, but rather to illustrate just how fragile this life can be and how invulnerability truly is a myth. We understand that by virtue of being students, many of us have our eyes set on the future: get this internship, apply to that grad program, settle down in 10 or 15 years after we’re established in our careers. Despite what the Snapchat stories or YouTube binge sessions suggest, planning for the future is what we students do. But we urge you to live in the now, in the moment.

At the risk of sounding preachy, this life is too precious to be taken for granted. Think about it: This day, March 29, 2016, is just another day to most of us, but we could easily fill the rest of the paper with the names of those who recently lost their chances of arriving at this moment. At the end of the day, time — in all its uncertainty and mystery — is all we have. It’s the only guarantee.

So please, live and love to live. Walk to your classeswith pride; help your friend out with calculus; respond to your mom’s 11 unchecked voice messages; enjoy that frappe mocha whipped venti triple-shot espresso vanilla — whatever you get from Starbucks — and maybe even smile back at your secret admirer across the classroom. Whatever your preferences, make the most out of life’s moments: You never know how long you’ll be lucky enough to cherish and experience them.

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