Today's a historic day. And not just for my friends in the UK, but, in my opinion, also a historic day for the world.
Today, Queen Elizabeth II became Britain's longest-reigning monarch at 63 years, 7 months, 3 days and counting.
That's 23,226 days, in case you were wondering.
She has been on the throne for almost three times as long as I have been alive (8486 days). Mommom was just shy of 14 when Elizabeth became Queen, and she barely remembers what it was like before her with King George VI on the throne.
That's just mind-boggling to me. Maybe it's because I'm a history nerd, but I was thinking earlier about how many wars she's seen, how many political eras she's outlasted, how many crises she's surpassed, and it's just crazy. People think living to be 63 is no big deal, but she's been the royal leader of a country for that long.
I love the UK and the British monarchy, so I was reading a bunch of articles earlier about this, and The Today Show mentioned how when she was 21, four years before she took the throne, she swore to the people of Great Britain that she would devote her life to serving them for however long she was alive. At 21, she promised to live a life that would no longer be just her own. I know she'd been trained for that her whole life, but to understand the magnitude of what she was getting into at an age when most people are instinctively only thinking about themselves is a beautiful thing to me.
And she has. Through 12 Prime Ministers and 11 US Presidents, she has served them. Today, on this historic day, while she's supposed to be on her "summer vacation" in Scotland, she got on a train and went to open a new rail line. I can't even imagine what is going to happen in the world, and specifically in the UK, when she finally dies. My mom likes to joke that she's going to die "literally on the throne" (and I'm sure she's not the only one), but it's going to be a difficult and major shift in the world.
But this day has gotten me thinking. I don't know if I'm going to get 23,226 days. None of us do. But I need to make good use of however many days I am given, because I only get one chance at this. I only get one chance to help people, to make a difference, to show people what it looks like to live for something greater than yourself.
People have often commented on how amazing it is that I can find joy in the smallest things in life (I think The Vespers were the first ones to tell that to me straight), and I'll tell you what I told each one of them. When you have some of the best doctors in the world telling you that, by all medical standards, you should be dead, your perspective will shift to see how big of a miracle every single day really is. As cheesy as it sounds, I wake up every single day knowing that I am beating all sorts of odds, not just by being in New York and making it to grad school, but by being alive at all. I've been given a second (or a third, or fourth, or fifth, I don't know, I've lost count) chance at life beyond all worldly reasoning, so I want to do something with it.
And I don't just mean, oh I want to get married, or have kids, or work at the State Department, or whatever. I want to make an impact. I want to know that when I die, I'll have a legacy left behind.
I want to do something powerful.
I want to do something beautiful.
I want to do something crazy.
I want to do something world-changing.
I want to do something helpful.
I just want to do something.
What? I have no idea right now. I'll leave that up to the One who knows far better than I.