10/26/2014 10:05 pm ET Updated Dec 22, 2014

Don't Go Down Without a Fight

I've a couple friends -- some old, some new; some I've met, some I haven't -- but these friends are going through a wretch of a time. They're struggling immensely with their health, possibly even (probably even) terminally. The people I'm thinking of are still, remarkably, the most positive people I know. This doesn't mean they aren't struggling with their mortality -- mightily -- it means that still they're filled with love. They share their love. They show their love. To a certain extent they're discussing their struggles with loved ones, counselors, physicians, whomever, but always with an optimistic "we won't go down without a fight" attitude.

Heck. Look at Malala Yousafazi. Seventeen years old. Born and raised in Pakistan. When she was 15 she was on her way to school and shot in the head by the local Taliban. Because she was a girl. And on her way to school. And because she was speaking up about the constant trials the girls and women in her community have to face to get an education. Following many surgeries, and likely a lot of therapy, she went right back to it. She refused to be cowed. She continues to speak out in Pakistan and worldwide all in effort to get more girls educated. She's 17. She just won a Nobel Peace prize.

I see Malala, I see my friends, I see so many others, and they're all doing so much to light up the world despite their trials and tribulations, and it makes me realize I can't call out of life (regardless of how much or how often I want to). These people inspire me. Their greatness in the face of such adversity means maybe, just maybe I can do it, too. Their greatness almost shames me. Who am I -- a person maybe not born on a golden platter, but born on at least a solid bronze one -- who am I to have any grief with my life?