I thought of the words that were important to me and pictured them on my headstone:
Overall, I just wanted to think I would be remembered as a person who would be missed, I suppose. That people would smile when they thought of me.
One word that did not occur to me was brave or courageous. I usually associate those words with a person who fights, like soldiers, or those who risk their lives in pursuit of something amazing. I didn't think it really applied to me, or was even very important to me.
Now, I finally realize that to be any of the things I listed, first I must be brave. A coward does not fall in love and share their life with someone. A coward does not take out ridiculous student loans in hopes of having a fulfilling career. A coward does not have the strength to tell someone they love them if they are not sure it will be said back to them. A coward does not risk their heart, money, time.
The truth is, even the good things that we think should come easily to us require courage. We will be disappointed, but looking at the chances I have taken, I have never regretted being brave, even when I lost in the end. The things I regret are the times that I lost before I even started.