March 4, 2011
Everyone here has felt it. The day you look around and realize the world seems a little brighter. I met Lindsay the morning of August 24th, 2005 as we were moving into what was clearly the most enviable room on East Campus. By that night, I realized I was lucky for so many other reasons. I would not only be sharing a room with Linds, but a life, and it would be epic.
I have no doubt that she instilled a similar sense of excitement, comfort, and inclusion in everyone she came across.
As I artfully demonstrated in the four years that would follow, it was easy to cling to Lindsay. She lived her life with a purpose- to make the people around her happy at any cost. What she didn't know is that merely being near her, soaking up her contagious love of life, tactfully plagiarizing her view of the world and the people in it forced me to wake up smiling every day, no matter the time.
So instead of discussing any kind of loss today, Lindsay never would have allowed that, it is much more fitting to celebrate the net gain. The legacy she left behind through the people lucky enough to know her, and the things she taught me, taught all of us, through the action-packed adventures of her life.
1. Set the bar high and dream big. Only fools are satisfied. Lindsay knew she deserved the very best that life had to offer. She demanded the same for those that she loved. She fully expected that we would own an island by our late twenties. Every puppy would find a home there.
2. Parents can be your best friends. There are no two people that she loved or admired more in this world. Billie, she described you frequently as a total badass. John, she viewed you as a man with all the answers- simply the smartest person around.
3. Brandon has impeccable taste. In everything. It is never to be doubted. Ever.
4. Treat your friends like kings and queens. There is no limit to the abundance of generosity Lindsay felt toward her friends.
5. When you find love, let it consume you. There is no shame in giving yourself to someone. She was not afraid of vulnerability although she would never show it.
6. Shop online. It is much faster and easier to buy in bulk, and the bill goes directly to Billie's credit card.
7. Find strength and peace in spirituality. Do not be afraid to ask life's biggest questions of yourself, and others, even if you will never be certain of the answers.
8. Make jokes when things get awkward. Be as silly and hilarious as possible at all times. Use funny voices and props.
9. Strive to make the earth a cleaner place. Papers and plastics should be separated carefully when recycling. Bike everywhere, unless you're really late.
10. Dresses should be sparkly. Hair should have volume. Accessorize.
11. Never stop learning. Life is a constant intellectual pursuit. She truly believed this, even if you wouldn't know it from her attendance records at Duke.
12. Be as stubborn and strong willed as possible and never apologize for it. Especially when dealing with Billie or John.
13. Read with passion. Write in the margins. Highlight your favorite passages. There is no doubt that she learned some of life's biggest lessons through reading. She cherished her favorite books and she could find value and wisdom in anything including Saddled: How a Spirited Horse Reined Me In and Set Me Free.
14. Look for beauty in everything, in everyone. Every animal, every body of water. Every painting, book, or building. Take a picture. Write it down. Blog about it. Share that beauty with the world.
15. Embrace life's challenges, no matter how great. Even on her hardest days, Linds appreciated the joy of living. No passage better illustrates how she felt about her own struggles than the wise words of a dog named Enzo from one of her favorite books, The Art of Racing in the Rain.
"The true test of a champion is not whether he can triumph, but whether he can overcome obstacles in order to triumph. A hero without a flaw is of no interest to an audience or to the universe, which, after all, is based on conflict and opposition, the irresistible force meeting the unmovable object...The sun rises every day. What is to love? Lock the sun in a box. Force the sun to overcome adversity in order to rise. Then we will cheer!"
Linds, you were a hero to many. We are all cheering for you.