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Memorial Day 2017: Live Big. Love Hard. Be Grateful.

I don't come from a military family, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate the sacrifice. Today I'm remembering Linda and the other military wives, whose husbands were all deployed, that took me in for Thanksgiving dinner (in Colorado) during my Girl Reinvented camping sabbatical in 2010. That experience, like so many others, opened my eyes to a world outside my own sheltered NYC bubble. I penetrated and absorbed one uniquely special subculture after another. Experiencing life through their eyes helped me understand the hardship and sacrifice those left behind go through. Most things are bigger and more important than me, and it's important I never forget that. 

Our time here on earth is so precious and short, and to think we are surrounded by men and women that walk directly into danger, willing to sacrifice their own short lives, so the rest of us can be free. We are so lucky. That level of courage, selflessness and sacrifice is unparalleled. It takes an extremely special person to be that brave. 

It was late November 2010 when I met Linda, a petite concert violinist, at NRA training in Colorado Springs, CO. Our paths leading to NRA training were different, but similar. Her husband had been deployed and her loving, safe landscape at home had now been replaced with unsettling echos. 

For me, the camping landscape had changed. The safety I felt surrounded by the busy laughter of families and crackling fires, had been replaced by the cold, empty and unsettling off-season. 

It was late October around 11pm. I had returned back to my campsite in Steamboat Springs when the .45 I had purchased from a traveling preacher in Coram, Montana, and swore not to touch before training, saved my life. As my attacker came toward me, it was my visceral reaction to lunge for my gun. I knew it wasn't loaded, but he didn't know that and I certainly wasn't going to tell him. Staring down the barrel of a .45 was enough to scare him off.

The events of that day led me to take an immediate detour, and that's where I met Linda, in Paradise (Paradise gun training that is). I'm grateful to be alive and I'm grateful for meeting Linda and the other military wives. I'm thankful for all of my experiences: the good and the bad, collectively, shape my new outlook and approach to life. This story isn't about a gun or the NRA (so don't judge), it's a metaphor for taking control of your life and embracing every single moment. Be fearless and be empowered. You can either be a spectator or a participant. Life is too short to waste time sitting on the sidelines. Linda and I both chose to be empowered. 

This Memorial Day let's take a few minutes to pause what we're doing and remember how lucky we are. We must never take our freedom for granted. I'm able to write this blog and run my own company because of the sacrifices of others. Let's honor the fallen by being kind to each other and grateful. And if you don't experience it already, train your brain to be content. I think the ability to be content is by and large what we're missing most as a society. Appreciate what you have right in front of you and stop wanting and judging. Life is too short to waste time on appearances, material things and what other people think. 

Keep your circle close and love them hard, but remember to step outside your bubble too. We are all more alike than we are different.  

Live big. Love hard. Be grateful. 


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