Life is Art

Art takes many forms: drawing, writing, singing, dancing, acting...
Art is creation.

Creators make the world more interesting with their crafts...

Artists make the world more beautiful with their work.
Writers make the world more bearable with their words.

Musicians give us a tune, and painters lend us a muse.
Designers send us ideas, and chefs help us with food.

Actors urge us to feel.
Comedians prompt us to laugh.
Singers inspire us to sing.
Dancers remind us to dance.

Art is creation.
Art is... life.

Life is a canvas. A slate. A stage.
It's a song. A dance. An open page.

Life is... art.
You... are the artist.

Life is... a story.
You... are the author.

Your life is the story of who you are. It's the novel of what you are. It's the tale of why you are here.

It's the story of... you. A story that's yet to be fully-told... because it's yet to be fully-written...

You are writing your story... right now.

As with any tale, each life has a beginning... and an end. But unlike most stories, the way your life began, and the way it ends, are nearly irrelevant to the plot.

One day... however long ago... you were born. It doesn't matter where or when it happened. You're here.

And some day... however long from now... you'll die. It doesn't matter how or why you do. You're gone.

All that matters... the only thing that matters... is how you lived.

In other words... how you choose to decorate the canvas of your life... how you choose to fill the pages of your story...

The good news? The way you choose to live this life... well... that's just about the only thing you can control. You can't change the circumstances of your birth. You can't change the inevitability of your death...

But how you live... that's all you, buddy.

The experiences after your arrival... the events before your departure... those are the things that matter --the only things that matter.
The "in-between" ... is life.

Life is a canvas. 
A massive canvas, a forgiving canvas, a distinctly-unique canvas.

Yet, it is not a blank canvas. Where you came from. What you came from. Who you came from. Each of these things tossed some paint onto the canvas of your life.

Even still... none of these things... defines your creation.
You do.

Maybe you aren't big on "the arts." Maybe you aren't that "creative." Maybe you suck at drawing, and poetry, and crafts. And maybe you don't give a crap about any of that.

Regardless... in your own life, you are the artist. You are the author. You are the creator.

You are... you. No one else can be that.
Your life is... yours. No one else can live that.

You are the only you who will ever live. Your story is the only story of you that will ever be told.

The artwork of your life can be everything you want it to be: Mediocre or impressive. Boring or impactful. Fleeting... or everlasting.

Your time here can mean something. Your story can change something. Your life can matter.

It's all possible... because you hold the brush, the pen, and the paper. You are the creator of your own destiny... your own legacy.

No matter what your "artistic abilities" may be... you are an artist. Even if you can't paint, you're a painter. Even if you can't sculpt, you're a sculptor. Even if you can't write, you're a writer. Even if you can't act, you're an actor.

Your life is a stage. Act.

*Act today by donating to Lucky Dog Rescue. Giving to others is one of the most beautiful ways to make your life count. 


The Smiley Face

Today's random, useless thoughts and humor...

The smiley face :)

It's a symbol of peace, love, and happiness. Humor, sarcasm, and silliness. Optimism, hope, and simplicity.

Maybe it's just a simple, random symbol, but it holds a lot of power. It's a meaningless symbol... with a lot of meaning.

And in my opinion, that's what makes it slightly fascinating, and highly hilarious.

Maybe you're wondering what the hell I'm talking about. It's a freaking smiley face, for freak's sake. It has power?? Come on, Ashley... it's not the gosh-darn President.

Well, sure... the smiley face is just a silly text symbol... yes.

But this symbol has a way of communicating our feelings, tone, and intent. It's also an extremely effective tool for people like me, the sarcastic pains-in-the-asses of the world. And that's why it's friggin' brilliant.

When it comes to text communication, many unnecessary problems and arguments often arise, due to the obvious lack-of-tone. Without it, the message recipient is left to decipher the message meaning... and honestly, we're just not that smart. (Yes. I said it.)

Often, this causes the entire purpose of a message to be missed. Intent can be misinterpreted. Feelings can be hurt, and/or anger can arise.

As a result, a straightforward email can spark an unnecessary, useless debate. A well-meaning text message can start an all-out war. Jovial sarcasm can be viewed as damn-near malice.

"Is she f-ing SERIOUS right now???!!! Skank!"

Yet... the smiley face presents us with a simple, effective solution to all of this. In fact, it has the power to take you from bitch to angel, in about 2 seconds flat.

Don't believe me? Here's a simple text example:

"I can't talk right now. Talk to you later."

The person sending the message is simply busy at work, and doesn't have time to talk at the moment. But she has no idea that the other person is now having the following delusional thoughts upon receipt of that message:

"Wait... she's been 'busy' a lot lately. Is she mad at me? Is she avoiding me? OMG, she so IS avoiding me!!! That BITCH!!!"

Before the message-sender even realizes what's just happened, she's landed herself in a massive fight with her friend. The friend has already assigned an inaccurate, negative tone to the message, and suddenly, "Talk to you later" becomes "I never want to talk to you again. Ever. PS- You're ugly."

The solution? A simple, friggin' smiley face. I'm not kidding. Check this out:

"I can't talk right now. Talk to you later :)"

This option sets forth a positive tone from the get-go : "Aww. That sweet girl is just sooo busy. Probably doing the Lord's work. And even still, she wants to talk to me later!"

But the best part about the smiley face... is its ability to further enable my sarcastic nature, in a way that minimizes bitchiness and enhances humor.


"It's okay. You can't help it that you're such a massive dumbass :)"

The result? Laughter instead of anger. Works like a friggin' charm.

The smiley face can turn offensive-honesty into lighthearted fun. Or it can make blatant, sarcastic lies seem innocent and endearing. Basically, it takes the bitch out of bitch-slap, and that's why it's awesome.

Here are some other fun sarcastic examples:

"Yeah... about that. If it happens again, I'm gonna need to sue you :)"

"I'm sorry I didn't get back to you this morning. I was waaay too drunk. What's up :)"

"Girl, I'm not judging. Dogs are my thing. Slutty is yours. Sluts help people :)"

"Well... it sounds like that's definitely your fault. But it's mighty-big of you to blame others for it :)"

"No. You're not bothering me. I was actually just looking for someone to waste my time :)"

"Of course I get it. And if I was completely delusional, I'd totally agree with you :)"

"That reminds me. For a while now, I've been meaning to suggest that you go screw yourself :)"

"No, I'm not mad at you. I'm just annoyed with your entire existence :)"

For funzies, let's take it another (extremely-sarcastic) step further. Let's say you send this text message to a friend:

"Please don't repeat this, but I'm leaning toward homicide :)"

Without the smiley face, your fate is sealed. If someone dies, you're going to prison.

With it... there's room for reasonable doubt. "She was totally kidding! She wouldn't harm anyone! Just look at the cute little smiley!"

The verdict? Not friggin' guilty.

In my opinion, the smiley face is simply brilliant. And due to its multi-purpose nature, I'm able to use it often. Most of the time, I add a smiley to convey my genuine appreciation for someone. Other times, I use it to solidify the positive intent of my message.

But sometimes, it's just fun to use it for... well, fun! If you've ever met me, you know that I'm preeetty big on self-deprecation and sarcasm. And that's why I'm thankful for the smiley face.

It lets people know when I'm kidding, and when I'm not kidding. It allows me to make light-hearted jokes, without pissing people off. And honestly, it's one of the only reasons why approximately 70% of my friendships haven't been burned entirely to the ground.

Plus, the smiley face is solely responsible for this ridiculously-useless blog post. I'm truly sorry for wasting your time today. And you're welcome :)


BullShit Legislation

*Even if you don't have a Pit Bull, this post applies to you, and here's why...

It's preeetty safe to say that I have a ridiculously-strong love for Pit Bulls. If you haven't quite figured that out about me yet... well, it's okay. Maybe smarts just aren't your thing ;)

In fact, I've written more posts about "the Pit Bull" than any other dog or animal rescue topic.
I've shared the reasons why I love them.
I've examined the reasons why they're hated.
I've discussed why they deserve to live.
I've explained why they're forced to die.

I've shared the truth about Pit Bulls. I've presented the facts. I've disputed the stereotypes. I've challenged the bullshit.

I've shared from my own Pit Bull experiences. Not from what I've read about. Not from what I've seen on TV. Not from what I've been told.

I've been open and honest... candid and realistic.  I've been a lover. I've been a fighter. I've been a friggin-force to be reckoned with.

In turn, I've planted seeds. I've witnessed change. I've made an impact. Slowly but surely, I've opened some minds, changed some perceptions, and righted some wrongs.

In those moments, no matter how small the change... or how tiny the impact... I've been proud of me. Proud of what I was able to do for these dogs. Proud of the hope I was able to bring them. Proud of the lives that may be saved, because I stood up for them, I fought for them, and then... someone heard me, believed me, and did something about it.

However... it doesn't always go that way when I write about Pit Bulls. The response isn't always positive. Readers aren't always open. My words aren't always welcomed, or valued, or even heard. 

Instead, I'm often challenged, ridiculed, and bullied by "the other side" ... the Pit-Bull-hater side. This is the side that boasts sheer ignorance, lacking credibility and compassion, and rallying for injustice. It's the side that works against everything I fight for... the side that hopes to ensure the death of every last living, breathing Pit Bull.

People from this "other side" often write to me... just to provide me with a long list of reasons why each of my Pit Bulls deserves to die. And sadly, many people agree with them.

Keep in mind... these are my children they're talking about. 

Further, these people are extremely arrogant and combative... arguing to be "right" about a subject that they honestly know little-to-nothing about. They'll deny all logic. They'll skew the statistics. They'll swear-by "first-hand accounts" ... random testimonials they've heard from a-friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend's cousin, who supposedly was there when it happened... or maybe just saw it on the news.

Honestly, it doesn't matter what they know or don't know. It doesn't matter what you say or don't say. It doesn't matter what this-or-that dog did or didn't do.

Because no matter what, they'll stand firm in their misinformation, with an intense, unwavering, and undeserved hatred for these dogs. Dogs that they've never even met... but wish to see killed.

Sure... these people sound pretty damn ignorant, ridiculous, and evil, don't they? So then... why would I even bother to acknowledge them with this post? Surely no rational person would ever take them seriously, or even consider complying with their cruel, unfounded, kill-those-dogs death wishes, right?

Oh man. I wish.

Maybe you're wondering exactly who is on this "other side" anyway, and why they even matter??

Well... I'll tell you. They are your friends, your neighbors, your landlords, your insurance companies, and your lawmakers. That's who's on the other side.

Does this group of people deserve my time or energy? Well... no.
But Pit Bulls do.

And sadly, it's nearly impossible to fight for these dogs, and work toward the justice they so desperately need and deserve, without taking-on those people from that "other side." Or should I say... taking-down that other side.

Here's why:

For every person who distrusts the Pit Bull breed(s)... a Pit Bull dies.
For every neighbor who complains about their presence, a Pit Bull dies.
For every landlord who forbids their residence, a Pit Bull dies.
For every insurance company who denies their coverage, a Pit Bull dies.
For every lawmaker who bans their very-existence... thousands upon thousands of Pit Bulls die.

The "other side" is responsible for the deaths of millions of Pit Bulls each year. Abuse, neglect, and unimaginable torture are to blame for the deaths of thousands more.

And so... the innocent die. The guilty thrive. Justice takes the fall. Ignorance kills them all.

Yet... few people care to acknowledge this issue. Even fewer fight to change it. And even fewer actually do something about it, by saving at least one... before it's too late. By adopting just one, so another has a chance. By loving just one, so they don't have to die without it.

Maybe you aren't a massive Pit-Bull-advocate-freak like me, but surely you have a good heart, and a solid understanding of the difference between right and wrong. Surely you can see that millions of innocent dogs don't deserve to die for no reason. Surely you can understand that your silence allows it to continue.

Maybe you don't have a Pit Bull. Maybe your friends don't either, and maybe you've never even met one. Even still, this issue should matter to you, and here's why:

Consider your dog... whatever his or her breed may be. Consider how much you love your baby, and how much your baby loves you. Consider the innocence of this special, loyal creature in your life, who wants nothing more than to please you... who lives and breathes just for you. Consider just how much you treasure his or her devotion, and just how deserving your baby is of life.

Now... consider if someone else --who has never even met your dog-- tried to threaten your dog's life... because in their opinion, your baby doesn't deserve to live. Consider that this person's opinion was formed... based solely on the actions of another dog of a similar breed.

Consider that the other dog had been severely starved, neglected, and beaten all of his life --and yet-- the dog was punished for those crimes, and was forced to pay the price for what was done to him.

Then, consider that YOUR dog must also pay the price... he'll lose his life. Consider that your dog has been sentenced to death --along with every other dog who bears his resemblance-- based on nothing more than the actions of another dog, who kinda-sorta looked like him. (I'm not kidding. This really happens.)

Consider the feelings you would have... the outrage, the fear, the pain. Consider how you would stand up and scream: "No!!! Please! You can't do this! It's wrong! Somebody please stop them! Help us!" Consider that no one hears you, no one agrees with you, and no one even cares. Consider what it would do to your heart, and your faith in humanity, if this were your reality.

Consider the pain in your baby's eyes, and the fear in his heart, as he is ripped away from the only family he knows and loves. Consider the confusion, the heartbreak, and the terror he will feel... at the moment he is killed.

Now... picture your baby, laying lifeless in a landfill, beneath thousands upon thousands of other babies, who look just like him... and died just like him. 

That's what BSL looks like.

Seriously... ask yourself: what would you do... if this issue affected YOUR dog, in the very-real way that it threatens each of mine? Wouldn't you be angry? Wouldn't you be upset? Wouldn't you fight for your baby's right to live?

Then, to take it one step further, imagine how you would feel if your friends, neighbors, and co-workers sat back and did nothing to help you? What if you were the only one fighting? What if no one else even cared??

I want you to really allow yourself to feel those feelings... to imagine that level of anger and sadness... to acknowledge the utter helplessness of injustice. Does it feel right to you? Is it okay with you? Can you even believe it's allowed to happen??

Honestly, it's insane that this is allowed to happen, but it's definitely allowed... and it's definitely happening. It defies all logic. It's completely ridiculous. But mostly, it's tragic.

Here's the basic premise of Breed-Specific Legislation (BSL): When a dog of a certain breed harms or bites a human, let's just go ahead and ban every dog of that breed from existence... just in case.

It just doesn't make any sense...

Regardless of whether-or-not you love, hate, or feel completely indifferent to the Pit Bull breeds... surely you feel a special bond with your own dog. Surely you realize that your baby is distinctly unique in personality, behavior, and spirit. Surely you see the innocence, love, and desire that shine through your baby's eyes. Surely you look at him or her... and see a creature who is so incredibly deserving of life.

Well, that's how I see my Pit Bulls, too. Even if you don't believe in their love and innocence... it's there. It's in their eyes. It's in their smiles. It's in their hearts. It's in their souls. My dogs deserve to live, too. They just do...

In reading this... maybe you appreciate the love I have for these dogs, and maybe you feel sympathy for their pain. Maybe you don't want them to die, and maybe you wish that things could be different for them. Even still... maybe you're thinking that there's just no real reason for you to join the fight for them.

Because maybe you figure... "At least my dog is safe."

And maybe you're right...

But... maybe you're wrong...

Here's the honest truth: all it takes is one bite, from one dog, of one breed, for people to propose a legislative ban against that breed (Breed-Specific Legislation, BSL).

Across the country, 75 different breeds --and mixes of those breeds-- are currently on the list of banned or restricted dogs. It's NOT just Pit Bulls. In some areas, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds are deemed "dangerous," and are therefore banned. If you think small dogs are excluded, well, they aren't. Even breeds like Pugs and French Bulldogs are on the list.

And believe it or not... this isn't the useless work of some random Joe Blow, who simply thought it would be cute to list all of the breeds he doesn't like that much. 

Nope. This is legislation, people. It's the law. And each year, more and more breeds (and mixes of those breeds) are being added to this list... in more and more areas across the nation. It's complete BULLSHIT.

And we're all just letting it happen...

By the time your dog's breed joins the list... it may be too late. You've got to care now. You've got to speak now. You've got to act now. Write letters. Make phone calls. Rally others to do the same. Just do something.

BSL is real, it's happening, and it's personal. It's life or death.

And it won't end... until we end it. Please join us in the fight for their lives. Not because I asked you to, but because it's the right thing to do.

*If you'd like to help Pit Bulls, please click below:


Is It Worth It?

This is a follow-up to my previous post.Click below to read: Why Dogs?: http://luckydogrescueblog.blogspot.com/2012/02/why-dogs.html

I received a lot of amazing feedback regarding my recent post: Why Dogs? One of those responses was a simple text message from a friend... one that really got me thinking.
The text read:

At one time, everyone knew what their life purpose was meant to be... but we were taught to forget it, in the name of money and security. You held onto yours. Great post.

Those words reminded me of something I wrote and shared on my blog last year:

"When you're a kid, anything is possible. You think big, you dream bigger, and you know--without a doubt-- that you can do anything. Over time, the world beats us down. The big thoughts are exchanged for conformity. The bigger dreams are traded for stability. The 'can-dos' are replaced with 'can't-dos.' We call that 'growing up.' But really... we didn't grow up at all. We gave up." ~ me

That text message, coupled with my own words, really made me think about the importance of dreams and purpose... and why so many people let go of these things. I couldn't help but question the lessons we're taught... about wealth, security, and success...and the lives we go on to lead as a result.

Mostly, I thought about the regrets, felt by so many, because of those teachings. And I just kept asking: Why??? 

Why the hell do we allow this to happen??
Why does our society value money and status over dreams and purpose?
And why do we continue to defend this behavior... and re-teach these lessons... when they lead to so much regret for so many people?

I've always been a pretty big fan of the word: "Why?" But when it comes to questions like these... I'm rarely satisfied with the responses I receive.

Here are some examples:
"Because that's what you're supposed to do..."
"Because that's how it has to be..."
"Because that's how we've always done it..."
"Because they said I should..."
"Because that's how life works..."

Wait... that's why?? 

Maybe it's the complete lack of logic in these responses, or the total non-explanation of those answers, or the seeming complacency with it all. Maybe that's what bothers me so much...

Maybe it's the surrender-without-a-fight mentality... the it-is-what-it-is indifference... or the because-I-said-so attitude.

Maybe it's the lack of conviction... the absence of vision... or the denial of alternatives.

Or maybe it's the tiny whisper of defeat I often hear, behind the voice that provides those answers. A subtle mix of anger and sadness that says: "I don't know why I gave up... but I did it anyway..."

It's heartbreaking to see so many people going through life with such deep regrets about their decisions to give-up on their dreams... often feeling as if they missed their entire reason for being here. Especially because... it just doesn't have to be that way.

Now... before I go on, let me say this: I have a pretty firm grasp on reality. I'm absolutely aware of just how difficult life can be. I also realize that "growing up" is an obvious, unavoidable part of life, which places many constraints on our childhood views and aspirations. I'd never deny that we're each faced with a ridiculous number of responsibilities to uphold, bills to be paid, and struggles to overcome. I get it... and I'm not neglecting any of that.

Therefore, this post isn't my crazy attempt to paint a ridiculously-skewed, ass-backwards, rainbow-skittles-backdrop, behind the otherwise-grim actuality of our lives. I'm not trying to invent some kind of bippity-boppity, humpty-dumpty, whistle-while-you-work, fake-ass-fairy-tale-of-a-world... in which we can all survive on simple wishes and gumdrops.

Instead, I'm simply sharing my view of an issue that impacts each of us in some way... affecting our lives, our dreams, and ultimately, our purpose for existence.

However, in doing so, I'm NOT advising anyone to suddenly abandon all responsibility and rationale. I'm not encouraging random, reckless decisions to quit your job, sell your house, or become a wandering gypsy. Okay, moving along...

Here's the deal: I receive a ton of amazing messages and letters from all of you (In fact, I receive so many, that I'm waaay behind on getting back to everyone. But I promise I'm working on it. Okay, back to the purpose of this whole thing...).

In many of those messages, I read words like these:
"I just wish I could do what you're doing..."
"I just wish I'd started at your age..."
"If only I'd followed my heart like you did..."
"If only I could go back and change it..."

These messages are extremely touching --and beyond heartbreaking-- all at once. I'm always affected by the deep emotions within those words: desire, hope, and passion... mixed with sadness, regret, and despair.

As I read those messages, I can't help but think: It just doesn't have to be this way. It shouldn't be this way.

In truth, the very things that these people so desperately wish to do or change... can absolutely be done or changed... but they just don't realize it yet. Or maybe, they just haven't tried.

Instead... at this point in their lives, they almost feel trapped by their existence... burdened by responsibility and circumstance... stuck, anchored, and paralyzed by their own decisions. 

I think we've all felt that way at one time or another. We're human... and being human kinda sucks-ass sometimes. But, really, that whole "being-a-person" thing is actually our greatest strength. It means that we hold the power. That means YOU hold the power.

If you aren't happy with some aspect of your life, I'd just like to encourage you to change that. Especially if the unhappiness stems from feelings of an unfulfilled purpose... which can lead to some of the biggest regrets ever felt in this lifetime.

Of course... we've all heard the phrase: "If you don't like something, just change it." But obviously, this push-for-action is much easier said than done... and seems slightly-mission-impossible. So, I'm certainly not saying, "Just change it. Fast. And now."

In reality, it's just not that easy. Attempting to redirect your life is no kindergarten-cake-walk. But... it can be done. It is possible. Maybe it can't happen today, or tomorrow, or even this year. And maybe it even seems silly to you, at this point in your life, to start changing a bunch of crap... just to follow some distant dream or passion.

My life ain't always pretty
But here's my opinion: if it matters to you, then it matters. And if it matters enough... then it's worth it.

If it seems silly, or pointless, or impossible to you, then just consider the author of this blog post (That would be me). I'm only able to write these words with such conviction, because I've lived it.

If you think that I was simply handed some kind of enchanted existence, full of fairies and pixie dust... well, you're dead wrong. I've never even met a fairy in real life, and trust me-- pixies are stingy as hell with that damn dust.

Instead, my purpose became my path, because I had a well-defined dream, I believed in that dream, and I busted my ass to make it come true. Was it easy? Hell no. Was it worth it? F*** yes.

I worked at jobs that I hated... just to save the money I needed... to do what I love. It wasn't an easy, fun, or fast process. But it certainly wasn't impossible.

Today, I'm able to make a difference with my life, doing what I love. That being said... I'm very honest about my reality...  about the struggles I've faced --and continue to face-- as a result of that decision.

My particular dream didn't lead me to a life of endless stability, security, or ease. In fact, I actually gave all of that up... to follow my dream... to fulfill my purpose.

Sure... it sounds a little crazy... since that's pretty much the complete-and-total opposite of what most people do... or are told to do. Obviously, it's a much more popular choice to simply discard dreams for security, right? 

That works for some people, and there's nothing wrong with it. But, if you're like me... you need both. You've got to make a living... just like every other person... but you refuse to deny who you are in the process.

Call me crazy... but I truly believe that every person who needs both... can have both. More than that, you deserve to have both. You're worth it.

However, it's far from easy. It requires a ton of hard work, determination, and desire. You have to want it. You have to believe that it's possible... and worth it. And, at some point, you have to go for it

It's a journey... a process that's every bit as unique as you are. I can't tell you what will work for you. I can't advise you on how to start. I can only speak from my experience, and share what worked for me...

First, I had to reconsider what it means to "make a living." That is... what it means to me. And for me, how I made that living mattered more than how much I made.

Next, I had to reevaluate everything else.  I had to accept the things I couldn't change, and focus on what I could. I had to honor my responsibilities, while reaching for the possibilities. I had to listen to the concerns in my mind... without ignoring the dreams in my heart.

I had to redefine what it means to be wealthy, successful, and stable. I had to rearrange my priorities, to reflect those new definitions. I had to separate "needs" from "wants" ... and sacrifice "wants" for "needs." I had to adjust my perception of those sacrifices ... to view them as contributions.

Then, I had to develop a plan-of-action. In doing so, I had to balance optimism, pessimism, and realism. I had to recognize the difference between the three. I had to acknowledge the risk of failure... while preparing for success.

Most of all, I had to believe... in a way that made me seem bat-shit crazy to everyone around me. I had to believe in my dreams. I had to believe in my purpose. I had to believe in myself.

The hardest part? At some point, I actually had to do it. I had to take that leap of faith. I had to go for it. I had to try.

I won't lie to you... when I finally jumped, it was scary as hell. I didn't know the outcome. I questioned myself often. I wondered if I'd even make it.

Back then, I lived on pure faith. Even today, that's often how I survive. Is it easy? Hell no. Is it worth it? F*** yes.

At this point, maybe I don't know everything, but here's what I do know: I grew up, but I never gave up. I stayed true to myself. I believed in my purpose. I held onto my dreams. And, in turn, I became what I was always meant to be.

Actually, for me... nothing has ever been more worth it. 

At the end of my life... when I look back on my time here... I'll be able to smile and say:
I lived, and it mattered.

What could possibly be more worth it than that?