The road can make you very grateful. I’ve made a habit thanking the universe every morning as I begin my walk. I thank it for waking up. WE are all vulnerable everyday, but our houses, cars, health insurance, and support systems convince us that we are more secure than we really are.

My friend Matt was camping in the Dolomites in Italy when he was chloroformed in his sleep. He was leading a student trip, and in the middle of the night, razor blades sliced through the tent silently, and chloroform gas was pumped in.

They woke the next day at 2 in the afternoon sweating profusely in the midday sun. Their heads ached and they questioned the potency of the shared bottle of wine the night before. They searched around only to find that all of their money and valuables had been stolen, and slowly deduced what had happened.

The lone girl in their group was confident that she hadn’t been raped. She had slept with her chest on her boyfriend’s chest, under the sleeping bag, and as such she didn’t receive as great a dose. She recognized what was going on but was too “out of it” to prevent it.

Every night I camp out, every day I begin, I realize that this is the day I die. If then at the end of the day I haven’t, I am grateful. It makes me reflective, if today had been my last day on Earth, would I be happy with how I spent it? If I were to meet my grandmother in some form or another after death, would she be proud of what I had done that day for love, for peace, for others?

Everyday we go about our routines with the looming potential that today is our last day on Earth, and yet we live as if we are immortal. In his book “1984”, George Orwell wrote, “He who controls that past controls the future, he who controls the present controls the past.” By that logic, I am therefor in complete control of how my story will be written.

When I wake in the morning, I am thankful that I have…and I will be just as thankful when I don’t. It has been a good run. When I do go out, my earnest wish is that it will be in service of another. Drowning to save an animal in distress, smoke inhalation from attempting to save a child, loving a would be attacker despite their blows, or perhaps from a heart attack while helping a friend move.

Today (so far) is not that day, but I will live as if it were. It all begins with gratitude: Love, Help, Make Art & Peace.