My uncle David was a brilliant singer and guitar player. He was the type of artist who, through his melodic voice and pulsating tunes, left every audience member with the desire to become a better version of themselves. He had a rare talent, and for as long as I can remember all I’ve ever wanted in life was to become just like him. His ability to work tirelessly and fearlessly at turning his dream into reality, and to touch people’s lives in the process, made him a man worth admiring. Uncle David wasn’t famous by world standards, but he did have a great local following, and this seemed enough for him. I would spend days on end listening to him play his beloved guitar, whether it was at local Café’s or while sitting on his balcony waiting for the sun to set. Apart from his remarkable musical skills he was also very prudent and wise. I regularly went to him for advice regarding my aspirations. He would say things to me like, “Once you stop chasing the wrong things, the right ones catch you.” The day he passed was a very gloomy one; I had lost my best friend and the only person I knew who lived purposely. For weeks following his death it seemed to me like the birds had no songs, the sun had no warmth and the sky, no heaven.

In an unexpected turn of events his wife came over one day and handed me his guitar, telling me he had requested that it be given to me. This was very odd, considering I didn’t know how to play it, and I don’t remember showing him any desire to learn. Months passed by and it still puzzled my mind why he picked me to have the one item that best represented him and his passion.

One random morning I woke up for my 9 am lecture and I found myself staring intensely at the guitar which lay at the edge of my bed. Its presence had started to annoy me because I couldn’t figure out what it was meant to signify. After some time had passed, I realised I was running late for my class and just as I was getting out of bed, I felt an intense spark of awareness piercing my heart.

The truth finally dawned on me: this guitar was given to me to serve as a daily wakeup call (the kind he used to give me while he was still alive). A constant reminder that I should strive to live every day purposely just as he did.

I am yet to practice playing my uncle’s guitar, but it is my most treasured possession in the whole world. It represents an important lesson that I learned from the best person I’ve ever known.

Life is too short, try to spend every waking day of it living out your dreams.