The Valadez View

It’s time to start living


When Justin Baldoni, an amazing actor, director and human liked my TikTok about his movie “Clouds,” I freaked. It was a beautiful thing to know that I was seen and to know that the director of an incredibly heart-wrenching movie saw that he was appreciated. 

As I tried to quiet my whale-like sobs after watching “Clouds” and making that TikTok, one thing from the movie stood out to me the most. It was a quote from Zach Sobiech, the real-life 18-year-old that the movie is based off of, who battled Osteosarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer, until it overcame him.

“You don’t have to find out you’re dying to start living,” Sobiech said. 

When I heard this, I just had a jaw-drop moment. I’m sure this has been said a million times over the years, but it completely rocked me. As I watched a movie about someone dying who used his final moments to live so fearlessly, I realized I have been doing the complete opposite. 

Though I don’t actively think I will die in the near future, I don’t take risks, often too scared of the possible outcomes. Whether it’s because I don’t want to embarrass myself or be out at a dangerous time of night, I don’t allow myself to push my boundaries that much. There’s just too much at stake. 

Taking a step back from that mindset and watching someone unapologetically live, I couldn’t help but feel like I’ve cheated myself out of a lot of life. Of course I’ve only been on this earth for a little over 18 years, and I’m not fighting against a terminal illness. Thank God. But there is a lot I haven’t done that I should have. 

I shy away from school dances because I don’t like people and I don’t like sweating, so I just don’t go. I get scared of being the fat friend who is solely around to be made fun of, so I make up excuses to stay home. I can barely talk to someone and order food for myself, so I embarrass myself further and beg anyone around me to do it for me. 

Little things that other people don’t even think twice about could consume my mind for days. Now that anxiety is obviously something I’ll have to work on in the future, but for now I want to work on living. 

Dying isn’t something we should fear. It’s completely inevitable, or it will be until the year 4000 when humans can take immortality pills. 

Either way, no matter what individuals believe, this life will end. No matter how or when we go out, we are going out. So while we’re here, we need to make the most of it. I need to make the most of it, at least. 

I need to follow my dreams of being a lawyer in a big city and having floor-to-ceiling bookshelves (and yes, that bookshelf is truly one of my greatest aspirations). I need to go to the places that frighten me the most and talk to the people who intimidate me. 

And you do too. All we have is time, but all we are losing is time. Sure, it’s paradoxical, but it’s true. If something we had wouldn’t be missed if it was lost, would it be worth it anyway? A lost life is terribly sad, but a life lost to fear has the potential to be even more heartbreaking. 

I don’t want to get to the end and realize I’m not fulfilled with how I used my time, short or long. I don’t want to die wishing that there was another person I could have talked to or another night I could have gone out that would have changed me completely. I don’t want to die either, but I know there’s no other option. And coming to terms with that is bittersweet. 

Maybe it’s odd that an 18-year-old is coming to terms with her death. Maybe it’s a good thing, and maybe it’s not. But at least I’m telling myself to live while I still can. I hope I find ways to make my time here worth it, whether that is reading all of the books I possibly can or traveling the world and helping everyone I meet. Big or small, personal or selfless, everything we do counts. 

And in the end, I don’t want to find out I lived to die. I want to find out that I lived to live.