What I Am Most Thankful For

“Of course I’ll hurt you. Of course you’ll hurt me. Of course we will hurt each other. But this is the very condition of existence. To become spring, means accepting the risk of winter. To become presence, means accepting the risk of absence.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I have travelled to many beautiful places. I have learned from the wisest of people. I have chased dream after dream — sometimes achieving them, most times failing to reach them. But among all the opportunities I have been given, there is one thing I am most thankful for.

I have loved. Many, many times over.

To love something is the pinnacle of the human experience. No other circumstance will give you more depth and breadth than loving. And I’m not just talking about the romantic kind. The experience of love transcends the cheesy notes and the holding hands. I meant the entire spectrum of loving — from cheering for your favorite team to working on your passion. Love is what stops us from simply existing.

And with loving comes the risk of losing. That’s how you know the love is there. That’s how you know it matters. When we give out love, we open ourselves to the hurt that will follow. Whether you like it or not, the full experience demands both. To say that you have genuinely loved something means that you have been deeply hurt by it as well. It is only in this moment of weakness do we gain strength. An old mentor sang it best: “Without the hurt, the heart is hollow.”

I have been given many opportunities to love in my short lifetime. There was always a passion. Or a place. Or a person. It was in each love given and each love lost where I found life’s meaning slowly unravel itself to me. I have found clarity drowning in my craft, consoling a friend, or mourning a loss. Loving is no longer something I fear doing or feeling because it’s only in this vulnerability when I feel truly alive.

I have loved. I have lost. And in my 25 years on earth, I can say that I have lived.

Thank you to all those who have allowed me to love in whatever capacity — as a partner, a friend, a confidant. Your acceptance has given me the opportunity to learn more about myself and build the life I want to live. The kindness will never be forgotten.

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