The Bright Side: Crossing paths

Published 11:11 pm Friday, August 21, 2020

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I’m a big believer in the notion that everything happens for a reason. I think everyone that we cross paths with has had and will have an impact on our life in some way. Not just our mothers, husbands, friends and neighbors, but everyone. Even those we only meet once.

The other day, I met an older woman who had just finished eating breakfast with a friend. She was paying her bill and I asked her how she enjoyed the meal. “It’s always wonderful,” she said. “If that’s the last meal I have before I die, I’d die a very happy girl.”

Her words seeped into me like roots intake water from the soil. I have never spoken with someone so full of life; someone so content as to say that the meal they just consumed would satisfy them to the grave.

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I thought about my life, how so often I wish to be at the next phase of my journey here on earth because the next step will be bigger and better than the last. I always find myself wanting more out of life, trying to make the most of every day just to focus on the next. I stopped and thought about how content I was. If I died today, would I be satisfied with the life I have lived?

About a week or so ago, I was standing in line to check out my items at the grocery store. The gentleman in front of me had just finished sliding his items down the conveyer belt when the cashier asked how his day had been so far. “Every day above ground is a great day,” he answered.

The last time I heard those words was when the song “Time Of Our Lives” by Pitbull and Ne-Yo came on my Spotify playlist about a month ago. They didn’t strike me then like they did that day in the grocery store. Again, I found myself pondering my outlook on life. Why don’t I answer questions the same way? Why is it that I’m always in search of what’s next instead of enjoying the moment I have before me?

I met a girl from Mexico who had moved to the United States for work not too long ago. We share the same name, and got to talking about her time here, her family and how she enjoys work.

She told me about her large family, five brothers and two sisters, and her mom and dad who taught her how to make real, authentic guacamole that is, as she said, “to die for.” I asked her how it’s been being away from her family, and she seemed unbothered.

“I’m happy to be here, and have this opportunity,” she said. “I appreciate the work I have and am thankful I am able to work.”

All of these people, the older woman, the gentleman at the grocery store and Daniela, stepped into my life within the past three weeks. Maybe the universe is trying to tell me something, right?

The common denominator between all three of these occurrences is really quite simple: Enjoy the life you have today, because tomorrow is never guaranteed.

No, things haven’t exactly been great this year. Our world has experienced a large amount of hardship. I know everyone has their own battles going on. Life was never made to be easy. But recently, I’ve taken a step back from the constant worrying, distractions and woes to really look at life through the eyes of people like the three I mentioned.

What do you have to do to be content with your life? Nothing. Life is meant to be lived by the moment, where we see the good in what is around rather than pull the negatives from every situation.

Let’s face it, every day has its good and bad parts. In the end, does the bad matter all that much? We have family, friends, and people that care about us. Most of us here have good food, a home and are surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.

Life begs the question as to whether we are all satisfied with the time we have been given to live. How could we answer anything but yes? And if you haven’t made the most of your time here, what are you waiting for?

These three individuals crossed my path to remind me to slow down and enjoy life as it is today. Every day I walk outside to the salty air, with sunshine warming my face and people to stop and say hello to. Whatever happens in between happens. I’m grateful for the time I have been given, and will start to remember that as the days progress, thanks to those three people I will probably never meet again.

Today, I challenge everyone to live as though its their last. Call those you love, get some fresh air, and try not to get bogged down by what happened yesterday. We have to cherish the life get to live now; it’s the only one we get.

Danielle Puleo is a staff writer for The Coastland Times. Reach her at