This newsletter from Maria Shriver touched me. Life is so fleeting and fragile. I don't want to waste a moment of it not "living out loud," not living in a constant state of gratitude for this gift of life. May 2023 bring you your heart's desire.
Live Out Loud
By Maria Shriver January 07, 2023
Happy new year, my friends! Happy, happy new year!
I hope you are doing well, that you had a restful and reflective holiday break, and that you have entered this new year feeling good about the days ahead. As for me, I have entered 2023 with a renewed passion for life. I am determined to feel alive, live out loud, and make the most out of every day and every relationship that I have.
I’m feeling this way in part because between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, I lost three good friends. Three.
Yesterday, I gave a eulogy for my friend Nick. Nick was a year younger than me and he loved life. He loved his big family, his friends, his work, and his relationship with his God. And even though he was battling pancreatic cancer, he was determined to live.
Nick did everything he could to prolong his life, and the last few words he said to me were these: “I have so much more to do, so much more to live for. This cannot be happening to me now. Not now.”
I really had no words, so I spoke about my love for him. I recounted all the amazing experiences we had shared, and I thanked him for always making me feel beautiful (Nick was an extraordinary hairdresser, but when you sat in his chair, he was also a motivator and an inspiring spiritual presence and guide).
Nick was an artist, a brother, a dedicated son, and a self-made man. He died with some of his dreams realized, but he had many more he still wanted to fulfill. My heart broke for him that he wouldn’t get the chance to live and see them through.
My friends, now is all we have. Today, right now. So in honor of all those who don’t get the chance to live, let us all commit to living. Let’s all commit ourselves to the lives we are lucky enough to have right now.
Over the holidays I played this game with my granddaughter where I drew pictures for her on a tablet. When I finished, she marveled at it and then pressed a button on the bottom and yelled, “I’m clearing it away!” Then poof, the picture was gone.
“Again, Mama G! Again!” she said to me.
I thought this was a great metaphor for life. Press the button and clear away that which does not serve you. Clear away the baggage that you’ve carried to this moment. Clear away anything and everything that drags you down, belittles you, shames you, or makes you feel as if you don’t belong here. Clear it and poof, let it go.
In this new year, we all have a clear canvas. We all get to choose to live big or small. We get to choose to be of service to our fellow human beings and our country, or to sit back and complain on the sidelines.
I’m feeling a lot of clarity right now. I went into this year feeling more optimistic than in years’ past. I feel lighter, more hopeful, and more determined to live big, experience some magic, and root for others and myself. Yes, all of that and more.
I’ve worked hard on myself these past many years. I’ve worked hard on my relationships to make sure that I didn’t leave things unsaid. I wanted to make sure that I could do all I could to make sure those I loved knew it. I wanted to resolve things that needed to be resolved.
Losing three friends back to back to back and spending time with others in the homestretch of their lives has made me wake up to the reality that this is it. I’ve always known that this life wasn’t a dress rehearsal, but if I’m honest, I didn’t live accordingly. Now I’m going to. I must.
For Christmas, I gave my kids things I owned and loved right off my shelf. My belongings went into their homes and, hopefully, into their hearts. I also tried to take compliments out of my heart and give them to people who have made me feel loved and who have walked alongside me. There’s no time like right now to tell others what you see in them and how they have made you feel. It’s no time to be stingy or selfish.
Speak and share love with abandon. Who cares if your friends do better than you? I don’t. I want to cheer them forward. Who cares about that slight from years ago? Life is too short. Let it go, make amends, and forgive. Treat others as you want to be treated. Time is short. You and I are alive, and we are the lucky ones. We made it here. We can choose to look ahead, to live out loud, and to fully embrace what it means to be alive, or we can choose not to do those things.
That’s my wish for myself and it’s my wish for you. It feels good to be optimistic and to leave things that weigh us down in the past. I’m embracing my magnificence and my magic. Yes, I am. I’m choosing to live in my power, not shrink from it. I’m choosing to stand in my light and not veer towards the darkness. I’m choosing to be hopeful about my own journey and the future of my country. I’m choosing to look for the good in others. I’m hopeful they will return the kindness, but even if they don’t, I will move forward with my intention.
I know there are terrible, challenging problems in our world right now, and I know many are pessimistic about the state of our country and its future. I know many of those I love, and also those I don’t even know, are struggling to get by every single day. Their minds don’t give them a break. Their lives feel heavy and dark. That’s all the more reason that those of us who have been there and have found our way forward must shout from the mountaintops that light is around the corner. We must let each other know that all of us can make our world better and that each of us is needed in a deep and meaningful way.
There is a bit more to her newsletter, but this is the part I wanted to share, the part I want to live.