I believe death is not the end. Nothing has ever felt more unnatural or against the grain as the idea that I will one day fade from existence. This belief is what allows me to freely talk about and explore the topic of death with inquisitiveness, not morbidity. With each year that my life continues to unfold, I guess at what percentage of life I have already experienced. As well as what the measurement of experience is? Is it the number of countries I’ve visited, or years I’ve spent in school, programs? My religion tells me it’s the amount of love I have experienced as well as given. And more than a nurtured ideology, this belief has made it’s way into my core. So much so that I view life as invaluable as the fleeting days allowed in the training room in the Hunger Games – a space where you attempt to learn as many survival skills and techniques as possible in the time you are given. I BELIEVE learning to love is to learn how to survive, because Love is the way I will live eternally. Yet one thing I have come to realize is that knowing truth and living and breathing truth are comparable to knowing that carbs create fat and succeeding at a carb-free diet (I would give up any meat for a year than skip bread and cheese for a month). How do I learn to love? I believe that, contrary to the staple in every Disney movie, there are no villains in life. I often hear “oh, I think people are mostly nice and you’re a nice person, but I’ve met some really evil people”. But I don’t really believe that. Because I simply believe that evil “people” do not exist. People are just people. We have the potential and the capacity to express every emotion imaginable; from the misplaced anger and total frustration one must feel and connect with in order to torture and kill, to the opposite extreme of loving someone so much that it physically hurts, in just knowing that we are capable of loving and being loved to such depths. And every emotion, no matter how intense, and powerful does not stand a chance in the face of sincere and divine love. In writing this, I am tempted to make another Disney reference, as I refer to the scene in Robin Hood when some woodland creature, maybe Maid Marian’s friend Clucky, the fat hen says “true love conquers all.” Maybe Disney did get it right sometimes. I believe the most substantial way to learn to love is to develop and exercise the skill of empathy- the ability to go beyond what I hear and my own concepts, what I imagine someone must be feeling…but instead to be them. To truly feel their experiences and their emotions as my own. The few times I have connected with another, I was almost immobilized from the power I then realized I can possess. I guess if I can accomplish no more truths, I would be content living from moment to moment in experiences like these.