There are people who watch life go by and there are others who live it to the fullest. In the last couple of weeks, the community of Ventura lost two of the latter.
Helen Yunker died on July 28 at 96 and Chingchai “Chang” Liampetchakul died on Aug. 1 at 60. Both Yunker and Chang were known for their outgoing personalities and giving spirits. To learn more about them, see here and here. With both of them gone, the community has responded with a sense of deep sadness and loss. For anyone who knew Yunker and/or Chang, they would want their friends to be anything but sad. Life is for living it.
It’s easy to get sidetracked and despondent during these times of uncertainty. Politics and natural disasters have many of us on edge, prosperity seems harder and harder to achieve, setting goals may be taking a back seat to just keeping up with the day-to-day demands, but to live life as if it’s so fragile that one cannot enjoy it is the wrong approach.
While not everyone is gregarious and driven to live a life of adventure, resetting one’s perspective to the spirit of giving and offering kindness may be one way to jump-start the internal engine. Though not everyone has money to give or even time to donate to charity, looking for opportunities to help others is not hard. In fact, it’s happening everywhere. Offering to give another person your place in line, or picking up an item that dropped to the floor, or buying a homeless person lunch, or even asking the clerk in line how his or her day is going is a good start. Connecting with others even when it’s not necessary could spark a warmer world where the value of our lives starts to increase just by acknowledging someone else’s. It’s not hard, and the most trivial acts of kindness can go a long way.
Most importantly, however, take advantage of the resources available before they are gone. Those blessed to have been engaged with Yunker and or Chang understand what that means. Life is too short not to value the living among us. One never knows the treasures that could be unlocked with a little care for another. Let today be the first day you set out to show genuine interest, even if limited, in some of those who cross your path.