I base what I do off a single philosophy: don’t hurt anyone else. It was born out of my nihilism phase. “Nothing matters. We’re all going to die anyway.” While it may seem riddled with a lack of compassion and a reason to shirk all responsibilities and bonds, it became a mantra for me. The belief that nothing existed gave me the ability to loosen my grip on my depression, anxiety, and bonds to the things that weren’t healthy or didn’t matter.
Before long, it became to take shape as to what that actually meant to me. I began to realize that by nothing, I meant the rules we give ourselves, the unneeded stress that forces us, as a part of society, to compromise and shrink part of ourselves because the fear of stepping out of bounds outweighs the excitement of new experiences that may be an inch, a foot, a mile outside of who we believe we are. The reminder that death is inevitable helped me focus on where I was and who I was with without fear of the future.
My nihilistic mantra pointed out what I already knew: that people are what mattered. From there, it was a short leap to decide that if nothing matters, if we are to return to dust, what matters is what we do on Earth. The people we impact and the things that we do, as small as cooking a meal for a family shelter, planting wildflowers thanks to prepackaged seeds courtesy of Heart of the Rockies, or smiling when making eye contact with a newborn, leave an impact on the world. If I am to leave an impact, I intend to make someone’s life better, because people are what matter.
Nothing was able to show that to me better than the love and support that I have received here. You all have impacted my life in one way or another, and for that I am forever grateful. From providing my sister and I small mints, or picking up my shoes when I left them under a chair, or giving me hugs for years on end, every little action you take has made me stronger and has prepared me for the life I intend to live. Maybe it took nihilism to reinforce that actions had bigger impacts than I anticipated, but you taught it to me in the first place.
Our moments are fleeting, and in reflecting on my upbringing and short life, I’ve come to treasure each small memory. I am secure in who I want to be. I want to give of myself because you have given to me for my entire life. I smile when I see a group of kids playing Groundies, hike and seek, and black widow, because you once smiled at me when I did so. I encourage passion and kindness because you instilled those qualities in me. I learned because I watched; the reason I am who I stand before you as today is because of the generosity I experienced from each of you.
So, thank you for your gifts and smiles and support. Thank you for being such a big part of my life, and for helping me reach for and recognize the beauty and perfection in the world. You will always be a part of me.
Please give as you feel called, as you have given to me all these years.
Kyra Adamson is a long-time, beloved member at Heart of the Rockies Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). This fall, she begins her freshman year at Montana State University in Bozeman, MT, where she hopes to find a community of faith that will continue to nurture and support her.