Ruoyang Wang is not a celebrity, not someone this blogger knows, not anyone who you’ve heard of. But to his parents in China, Ruoyang Wang was their son. Their promise. Their hope for the future. And their dream come true. Their son, Ruoyang Wang, was a Berkeley student.
Ruoyang Wang died in a car accident that happened on Interstate 5, not far from Bakersfield, according to the Daily Californian. Wang was a passenger in the car – a passenger. He was 20, and would have turned 21 just three days later. Wang was described as an outgoing student who loved spicy food.
Why am I blogging about this? Because I just happened to see the article in the Daily Cal after reading about Cal Football’s problems, and it stunned me. Ruoyang Wang’s passing was a reminder to me of just how precious life is, and how important it is to enjoy every moment of it.
Living life to the fullest doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as just resting in bed for a day, or calling people you haven’t talked to for a while, or choosing to forget someone else’s stupid act and like who they are.
I’m sad for Ruoyang Wang’s parents, for his friends, for Cal, and for anyone who came to see this. The news reminds me of the death of my friend Samuel Peters.
Sam was a Cal undergraduate student I came to know when I was a first-year grad student in 1985. He was a calm, funny, smart African American man of 20 at the time and with a hot blonde Tri-Delt (the sorority) girlfriend – they were like a married couple.
After Cal, Sam landed a job as an accountant with Arthur Anderson, and he was pulling some pretty late hours as I recall. Then, one day, I got a call from my friend Durwin Hom, who introduced me to Sam at Cal, and that’s when I learned that Sam, like Ruoyang Wang, died in a car accident.
The difference was that Sam fell asleep at the wheel of his car after midnight. Samuel Peters was just 24 years old.
I often wonder what Sam’s doing up there in Heaven. I don’t believe people just stop existing. But what really constantly hits home for me is that we have to take time to make sure we’re taking care of ourselves and living well.
You don’t know when your number is up, so live the life you have as best you can.
And this is my note to myself: take care of yourself.