“All I can take away from this is that life’s timeline is unknown. None of us have a timeline for how long we will be here. But we do have an expiration date. An unknown expiration date. So we need to live our lives as if that expiration date is coming soon.”
Life's Unknown Expiration Date
There were 2 things I said that I would never do in my life:
- Become a teacher
- Start a nonprofit
Of course, I’ve done both. Figures. And both of the people who inspired me through both of these decisions have now passed away this year.
First my beloved grandfather, who encouraged me to pursue Books Unbound. And now, Nay Min Oo, one of my first students I ever had.
He was only 2 years younger than I, so our teacher / student relationship quickly formed into a friendship as soon as he graduated. He was part of the first Grade 8 class I ever taught — the class that helped me grow a love for teaching. We did everything together. From writing essays to choreographing Frozen’s “Let It Go” performances, it was always a blast.
Nay Min Oo was a star. He was so incredibly bright. Everyday, I was challenged and inspired by him. He was part of one of the strongest classes I had — our Grade 8 class quickly became a family.
After my Grade 8 class graduated, my students found work in nearby restaurants and hotels. Since school wasn’t an option for them, they came to my home for additional English classes on Sundays, their only day off of work. Right before I left Thailand, my Grade 8 class gave me a polaroid of everyone in the class. To this day, I still carry it in my wallet.
Even after I left Thailand, I would come back and reunite with my Grade 8 class that I taught back in 2014. I always looked forward to my visits to Khao Lak. We would have dinner parties and I would surprise them at their work. Always a fun time.
The students in my Grade 8 class have always meant so much to me. They have and will always continue to inspire me. They’re the reason why I fell in love with teaching. I love our annual reunions we would have. Reminiscing about our favorite Grade 8 memories and talking about the future together.
And now here I am, writing about Nay Min Oo’s death. He was only 23.
I will never find a way to justify death; especially for someone who dies at the young age of 23. Why he had to leave us at such a young age, I will never know.
All I know is that the time he was on this precious earth, he was truly a gift. He inspired and challenged me throughout my time in Thailand. Every time I open my wallet, I see his photo, along with my other friends from that Grade 8 class.
It’s hard for me to write anything else. It’s still a shock to me. All I can take away from this is that life’s timeline is unknown. None of us have a timeline for how long we will be here. But we do have an expiration date. An unknown expiration date. So we need to live our lives as if that expiration date is coming soon. That’s the only way we can appreciate our life and the people around us. Nay Min Oo, along with my loved ones who went before him, continue to serve as a reminder that life, though incredibly short, is so so beautiful3