You. Could. Die. Tomorrow.
Tomorrow you could be gone. No mas. Finito. There’s no guarantee for tomorrow or the next day or the next. Just think about that for a bit… soak it in, let it seep deep down into your soul
You are going to die
How does it make you feel? Scared? Too much to think about? Overwhelming? Anxious?
If you died tomorrow and you had that “last second, life flashes before your eyes” moment, would you be proud of your story?
A Friend of Ours Died
A really really awesome, inspiring, personable, loving, generous friend of ours died a few days ago. I say “ours” because he was a friend of mine and a friend of the LIVE A GREAT STORY community. He played a huge role in spread LIVE through the Memphis photography community which in turn spread far and wide, reaching Miami, Chicago, Tennessee and so much further.
Eric Jannsen touched hundreds of lives in a positive, uplifting, inspiring and authentic way… and now he’s gone
How did he die?
Doing what he loved
He was taking photos from a rooftop and something went wrong and he fell. It wasn’t an illegal rooftop. He wasn’t trespassing. He didn’t break any laws. He was simply pushing that shutter button and somehow he fell over the edge. By all accounts he was overly cautious on the roofs, encouraging peers to be safe and not to take unwarranted risks.
I woke up to a bunch of texts and Instagram DM’s with the horrifying news… and honestly, I had no idea how to react. I still don’t over a week later.
I haven’t texted any mutual friends, I haven’t posted on social media, I haven’t really been able to comprehend the situation.
It’s literally insane that Eric and I had just messaged weeks prior, that I had just sent him a new batch of stickers, that he messaged me a Santa Monica Street Reminder, that he was just here and now he’s not.
You could die tomorrow
I was reading some news articles about the incident and quite a few times they mentioned LIVE A GREAT STORY.
Eric really did live the LIVE A GREAT STORY idea.
He dove into photography, building a community of photographers in Memphis and far beyond. It wasn’t his job but he pursued it full speed, letting it take him to where it needed.
“He found beauty in unlikely places,” said his sister, Cynthia Vukmer. “Instantly being able to post pictures, I think that really captured his attention and his imagination and his passion. He died doing what he loved. He did that, I do believe he did that” his sister said.
He did that. He really really really did that. He lived it. He was a major reason LIVE showed up in Memphis last year for the Grind City Meet
Eric showed us around HIS city, touring us to different photo spots, BBQ joints and historical landmarks… and the whole time he had a huge smile on his face, treated everyone with over the top kindness and constantly radiated a sense of positivity, community and adventure.
He was a major figure in the Memphis photography community, leading the charge for an entire next generation of up and comers.
And now he’s not here…
Have You Thought About Dying?
Seriously. Have you deeply thought about the idea that you will die, that you could die any day, that you might not live to be 90, that you might die before starting a family, that you might disappear and not return?
There’s a book called The Book of the Dead. It’s a Tibetan book from about 800 years ago all about death. I’m not an expert but I think it’s about death and what happens after life and the transition between life and death. The Tibetans would meditate on their inevitable death, often.. I don’t know, I’m not an expert… but it’s something I started thinking about….have you thought about death? Your loved ones dying? You dying?
I’ve only experienced two real scenarios of death : my good friend Rusty died in a motorcycle accident when I was about 22. It tore me up. He was a force. One of the best. I balled at his funeral. A year layer on the anniversary I called my friend Carson and cried my eyes out. I’m tearing up now just thinking about it.
THEN AGAIN LAST WEEK DEATH CAME BACK AROUND : Just last week my sister’s ex-boyfriend was riding his bicycle on a very normal Sunday morning when he was hit by a drunk driver. He was an avid cyclist, living on his bike, racing and really living the athlete life. But on a Sunday morning he was killed by a reckless 19-year old drunk driver. Just like that.. gone
Three years ago my grandfather passed away. He was the patriarch of our family and a corner stone of a lot of what I strive to become. His influence is a main reason LIVE is what it is today : he risked it all, over and over, to pursue his journey whole-heartedly. He wasn’t perfect but he believed in something fully and went for it. When he passed I fully 100% committed to building LIVE A GREAT STORY into a world-changing brand… because why the hell strive for anything less?
You’re Going to Die
It could be tomorrow. It could be next week, next year or wayyyy down the road. But it’s going to happen.
When it does happen and you get that “flash before your eyes” moment, will you be proud of it? Will you trust that you lived whole-heartedly, put it on the line, soaked up as much as you could, loved deeply, traveled far, treated others as you want to be treated, strived for better, pushed harder and did the most?
Only you can answer that question. No one else. It’s yours. It’s up to you to take action now.
You don’t have time to wait for later. You can’t push it off for another time.
Because you’re going to die… and when you do, will you be proud of your story?
Epilepsy doesn’t hold me back anymore and making the decision to use the ketogenic diet to heal myself has become the driving force behind my larger goal of changing the lives of those around me for the better. My dream of educating, sharing my story and empowering individuals to not let their diagnoses define them is a reality for me. I thought the ketogenic diet was the end of my journey of healing but it has become my new beginning—a beginning that can, in time, allow me to become completely medication free and be able to help others find the success that I have.
It’s easy to succumb to the negative emotions, however, Tyquill decided to take his built-up energy and turn it into positive emotions. With these positive emotions, Tyquill found himself investing his time towards spreading positivity and creating art, his newfound passions. Tyquill found his passion for art and branched out into photography, graphic design, and even fashion design. Adapting to his new lifestyle, Tyquill adapted a new name, “Brannew”.
My story comes with a lot of twists and turns. Ones that were extremely dark in the midst of unfolding. Fast forward a few months and I wouldn’t change those twists for anything. Why? Because they’ve made my story so much more meaningful and a hell of a lot more fruitful. Why keep your story to yourself?
Having an open mind is having a healthy mind. Not every experience will end up being a good one. But how will you know which ones are worth having if you don’t ever try new ones? Plus, don’t the bad ones make some of the best stories?
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