We do not remember days, we remember moments.
I do most of my photo editing at a Starbucks by my house. It's safe to assume that, if I'm not working or traveling or at the gym, I'm probably there. I know most of the regulars there by name. Some are students. Some are retired. Most are completely non-functional without a Starbucks drink or two.
Several weeks ago, at this Starbucks, I met a elderly Jewish gentleman named Glen who happens to be a multimillionaire. He has traveled to every continent, and has properties spanning 4 continents. He has a storage garage in the city with every fancy car you'd ever dream of driving: a Ferrari, a Bugatti Veyron, a couple Lambos, a Bentley, a couple Jags, a BMW convertible, you name it. But he doesn't flaunt his wealth. In fact, when you meet him, he comes across as just a regular guy. The car he usually drives is a blue 2010 Ford Focus. He wears plain clothes - usually a simple button-down with a dark gray cardigan that I don't think I'd recognize him without. His drink of choice: a tall Pike Place roast, black.
He usually sits at the table next to me (if he's there first, he saves me a spot and vice versa). He is there religiously, every single day - Sunday thru Saturday. Like clockwork.
Every time I see him, his gray cardigan looks more baggy on him. His paper-thin skin is visibly paler every day.
Glen has stage 4 terminal small cell lung cancer.
In less than 3 weeks, Glen, a dying man, has taught me more about how to live than almost 3 decades of living. I could write a book on all the life lessons I've gleaned from him over the maybe 8 times I've talked with him.
He told me sternly to treat every moment presented to me as if it is the most precious opportunity provided by none other than God above. Most life-changing opportunities are disguised as hard work and added stress. He instructed me that no matter how tired or exhausted I feel, I need to live passionately and seize each moment with as much vigor as I can muster.
Each moment is a gift. That's how I treat every shoot. Every assignment. Every model. Every day.
Everyday, I save a spot for Glen at Starbucks. I put my laptop case and my jacket on the table next to me. Like an asshole. (Yeah, I'm one of THOSE people)
But, I haven't seen him the last couple times I've been at Starbucks. I hope he's okay. I'm praying for the dude. But, I know that wherever he is, he's telling hilarious stories and making a positive difference in the lives of those around him.