Subject: Carpe Diem!
February 12, 2015
Shalin wrote this e-mail to his family after finding out his cancer was terminal, with 6 to 9 months left to live.
“Don’t ask what end the gods have given me or you, Leuconoe. How much better it is to endure whatever will be! Whether the gods have allotted you many more winters or this one is the final one, be wise, be truthful, strain the wine, and scale back your long hopes to a short period. While we speak, envious time will have already fled: seize the day, trusting as little in the next day!”
This quote is a translation of the Roman poet Horace’s famous “carpe diem” poem written in 23 BC. In it he expresses to his friend Leuconoe that instead of worrying about the end, we must make an effort to seize the day and make the most of each remaining day. Not sure if many knew this but I am a deeply spiritual person who believes in fate and higher purpose. With this said, I feel as though through the course of my life I have learned from all of you to become the man I am today; my mental strength, composure and positivity at this time is a result of the values and teachings you have all taught me, so thank you! I feel as if I was born for this end, this was my fate from birth, and there is a greater unknown purpose which was meant for my life which no one may ever figure out. Nonetheless, I am certain that there is a reason for my early exit and only the heavens know what that is. To be completely honest, I have never been more clear-headed and at peace in my entire life than I have been in the past week. This news was extremely liberating in a way because instead of incessantly worrying about whether treatment was working or not, now I have the chance to just stop stressing, enjoy life and take a shot at being the happiest man who ever lived! The next few months will be awesome; I will get to complete all of my bucket list items with the people who I love most. Honestly, how many people get this opportunity to do all of their dream bucket list items? I feel so blessed.
This is no tragedy, I don’t even think it is sad in the slightest way to be honest. My life has been awesome so far, I’ve been so blessed to have done some incredible things. I’ve lived in Paris, served the Peace Corps in Peru, fallen madly in love with the most amazing girl, have the most incredible family and friends anyone could ever ask for, had an awesome high school and college experience, got to listen to Usher in his prime… and the list just goes on and on. I’ve never gone to sleep hungry, mourned, been backstabbed, heartbroken, kidnapped, raped, pillaged, threatened, tortured, etc. Billions of people around the world would give anything just to have lived a day in my shoes due to the freedom and resources I have been blessed with in my life. In the end, there is very little difference in 22 or 90 years, the true beauty is being blessed with the gift of life at all. Life is such a beautiful, precious gift that I was lucky enough to have experienced at such a high functioning state with so many resources at my disposal. There is no need to be greedy and ask for more years like Horace suggests to Leuconoe, you have to be satisfied with what you have and what you have received. Anyways, quality over quantity, right? I’ve already done almost everything I ever dreamed of doing and I have had such an incredible life so far! So what, boo-hoo I won’t have kids or live happily ever after; but at least I never went hungry or suffered. Now, it’s time for us to celebrate as I seize the day! Together let’s show everyone how you really beat cancer, by living to the fullest up until the very end!
Lastly, I want to thank all of you for your endless support and love! You make this so easy for me!