Life is Short, Don’t Throw it Away

I’ve been meaning to finish this post for a while, I have about 30 posts in the backburner that are partially finished. I’m sad that the motivation comes from a tragic event.

Yesterday The other day I attended my first funeral for a friend. She was young, lighthearted, determined…and just a truly amazing person. Someone who, despite being sick, didn’t let that define who she was. Never. Always strong, and never making excuses. From the first time I met her, until this day, I’ve always thought very highly of her.

Life is short. What you do everyday, and who you spend your time with determines the legacy you leave behind.

This post is dedicated to Maivian Le, who left her mark from July 27th, 1993 – July 12, 2013, onwards. During her ceremony, many people shared how she touched them. She really was a miracle baby. Not just because she had a second chance at life, but because she lived life to the fullest. She touched everyone she met with her smile, and leaving us with loving memories of how she came into our hearts. Maiv made me think of what makes life enjoyable.

Here’s a list of things I try follow every day. Though every since I heard the news, I was just sad, the incident reminded me that life is precious. Don’t let it slip away as this tends to happen to us every now and then.

Don’t take others for granted. Throughout my life, I’ve definitely had my share of loving friends and family. I’ve had people go out of their way to help me succeed. I will never, ever for get who helped me. One of the stories shared today made me think a lot about my current relationships. Maivian’s neighbor said that he used to visit her every time he came back from college. As usual, he visited her a few months back when he came back. At this time Maiv just fought cancer and was a-ok. Everyone thought she was fine, including her neighbor. When he was leaving that day she asked him to come visit her everyday because she was lonely. Sadly, he did not…and just a short month later, she passed away. Similar to Maiv’s neighbor, I’ve private messaged her many times to set up dates to meet up. She lived a couple of hours away, so it was a bit hard to plan. Being a young working professional my day mostly consists of going to work, working out, eating, and, a couple times a week, hanging out with friends/fam when I’m not too tired. Anything outside of an hour drive was just “too long”. Excuses, excuses. Some people who I’ve told this to did say it was okay because at least I tried to plan out time to visit (because lets be honest a lot of people are too lazy to plan), and still got to speak with her through messages/video chat/etc. But really, that’s just not enough sometimes. Spend time with loved ones. Tell them you love and appreciate them, because you may not get the chance to later.

Forgive yourself, but don’t forget your mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. Don’t be too hard on yourself when it happens. But also don’t make it an excuse to do stupid things. Making mistakes is part of life, but knowingly making mistakes is one of the dumbest things you can do. Maivian wasn’t afraid to take, nor give constructive criticism. Its all about the growing process. In my conversations with her, we spoke often of criticism, and what it meant to us. And we both came to the conclusion that we both appreciate it when someone gives constructive criticism, no matter what age. As I mentioned before, I respect Maivian a lot…as a person, and as a martial artist. It is rare to see two people give constructive criticism to each other without having a superiority complex. I STILL feel like sometimes I have to step “down” so people don’t get cray. I have concluded that others will always underestimate me, even my closest friends and ex teammates. Maiv often had the same issues, despite being 1. awesome  and 2. completely capable of her leadership roles. We had a mutual understanding of a problem that a lot of people don’t comprehend. This situation loops back to my Modestly Confident blog post.

Find what you’re passionate about. Maiv was passionate about her art(s), family, and friends. This truly showed. Find it and DO IT. Even if you don’t make a career out of it, while you’re doing that activity you should feel completely comfortable with yourself. You should be in the zone. If you don’t know what that means, you probably haven’t found it yet. For me, very similar to Maiv (She was referred to as Kristin 2.0, afterall. I’m happy to even be compared to her.), I’m passionate about building relationships with family and friends, food, and being a well rounded athlete. I say athlete because I just love sports, including martial arts, and maintaining top fitness in general.

Take things one step at a time. Work piling up? Half the time we are afraid of what’s to come instead of just doing it. This pertains to just about any challenge. How to get good at Bball? One drill, one shot, one game at a time. There are NO shortcuts. In her short time, with us, Maiv managed to fight Biliary Atresia, Cancer, earned her 3rd degree black belt in Funokoshi Shotokan, served as drum major of her middle school, as well as high school, served in the ROTC program, and was a key demo team member in the Martial Arts Club at UC Merced. That’s not including building lasting relationships with her friends and family. Yeah. All that in 20 years. No excuses for the rest of us.

Build healthy relationships. You only have time for people who make positive influence in your life. Forget the people who make it miserable. There will always be people who go out of their way to make you feel insignificant, and you know what? Only YOU have the right to make yourself feel that way. Fill your time with people who love you, and make you laugh. A light heart shows through your smile.

Don’t take yourself too seriously, and just have fun. One thing that I admired about Maivian was how charismatic she was without taking herself too seriously. She gained the respect from everyone around her from being modest. Though soft spoken, she made her opinions known. Never in a way that belittles others, but pushing others up with her. A true role model who was goofy as hell when she wasn’t training, and wasn’t afraid to make fun of herself. This is something I aspire to become.

Happy Birthday. Rest in peace, Em. It was an honor to have met you. You will be missed. ❤

Yours Always,


9 thoughts on “Life is Short, Don’t Throw it Away

  1. Sorry to hear about your friend Chi she sounds like a wonderful person. I like what you said about her leaving her mark. And I like your list of ways you live your life. I think martial arts mirrors life in the sense it is what you make it. Sorry again for your loss, I’m sure you friend would smile though to read what you’d written.

    • Thank you for reading. She was definitely an amazing person. In terms of mirroring lessons from martial arts, she lived her life (in the dojo, and outside the dojo) through the 5 rules of training in the dojo from Funakoshi Karate: seek perfection of character, be faithful, endeavor to excel, respect others, and refrain from violent behavior.

  2. Life is indeed short. Your article reminded me of the only thing we actually have in life and that is time. You basically listed what it takes to make the most of time. To value it, to give back and to make this gift meaningful. Heartfelt article, Kristin. Comes across not very often.

    • This is true. How we manage our time/what we do with our time gets overlooked due to the daily stresses. I’m a little lucky because little things make me happy…even small things like a warm chocolate chip cookie for dessert, so my stress level is usually a little lower than most 😉

  3. I lost my best friend about two weeks ago.

    Of one thing I am certain. He would not have wanted any undue morbidness or moroseness on my part. (He was probably one of the funniest people I have ever known and had even started a blog here at WP at my suggestion). Hence, I am aware of a need to avoid that as much as I am able to at least. Not so easy though, especially in my latest writing attempts.

    Of course, posts about the subject of death are probably never going to make it to the highest ranking ‘best blog article of the year’ list.

    All the the more reason to feel appreciation when a sincere one comes along. Thank you for such an example.

    • I’m so sorry for your loss. I can empathize with you when you say that its not easy. Death is never an easy thing to talk about, or write about even. Since its extremely hard for me to talk about this subject, so I try to write it down in my blog. Its a way for me to express myself when I don’t know how otherwise.

      I just wanted to say that it really does get better. Not because you forget, but because there are other amazing things out there to see and experience. They will always be remembered, and would want you to be happy as well. 🙂

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