“IF YOU WANT SOMETHING YOU NEVER HAD…THEN YOU‘VE GOT TO DO SOMETHING YOU NEVER DONE." - Unknown

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Twice a year I reflect on all of my accomplishments, life lessons and goals I wish to still pursue. During this time, I also reminisce about the many gifted individuals I have been blessed to meet and have the pleasure of connecting with to share my vision of uniting a community and giving back.

One of those gifted individuals I was blessed to meet, get to know, respect, and share my vision with, was my brother Nijah Duncan. Sadly, Nijah passed away in his sleep this week. He was 35.

Nijah was a natural entrepreneur. Blessed with a charming personality and radiant smile, Nijah never settled for anything less than what he wanted. He had a desire to achieve every goal he set and put his mind too. I personally noticed this trait earlier on in Nijah when I first met him at the YMCA in Scarborough. Whether it was a small goal, like benching a specific weight at the gym, to owning and running ones own business, Nijah was committed to seeing that goal accomplished.

His "pursuit" to better himself and provide for his family, constantly drove him to do better.

Nijah's recent passing has affected my life and many others. Everytime a talented soul is taken from this earth, before their time, I start to think about my LIFE and how blessed and fortunate I've been.

Two things in life that are guaranteed is ones birth and ones death. What we do between that window, whether short or long, will determine how we will leave our "MARK" or our legacy. Although, Nijah's life was taken at a young age, he accomplished so much during his time and influenced, so many people through his work within the community.

One of his many business endeavours "Pursuit", a training academy and wellness centre for individuals to gain the basic skills to excel at thier designated sport, allowed him to influence, encourage and motivate many young children. His son, a participant at the training centre, embodies Nijah's work ethic and passion to succeed. The life lessons that his father has enstilled within him, will carry him a long way if he stays the course and surrounds himself with like-minded individuals similar to what his dad did over the past few years.

We all play this game called life which has no specific instruction manual. We have all taken life for granted and those individuals that mean a lot to us at some point in time. Whether it's that childhood friend we haven't reached out and checked up on or that family member we keep saying we will call tomorrow. We constantly make excuses for not reaching out or speaking to an individual. We talk our way out of our dreams and aspirations simply because we don't want to fail or try something different.

Since we can't predict the future or how long we will be on this earth, we should not defer our dreams and aspirations or reaching out to a friend or family member until a later date or a more "appropriate" time. There will never be that perfect or "appropriate" time. That time may never come. We often get carried away in our own lives and don't stop to appreciate the footprints of our friends and those special, authentic moments.

Nijah lived his life with no regrets. His pursuit for what he desired in life was always a constant work in progress.

I encourage you all to do the same if you currently do not live your life this way. Reach out to that old friend to say hello and see how they are doing. Contact that family member you have been saying you were going to call a few months ago. Pursue that burning desire to try something new. Life is truly a blessing and a gift.

Whenever God is ready for us, he will call. I personally don't question his call as I know those that are called have achieved and served their purpose.

You will truly be missed brother.

Your memory will forever live on through your family, and friends.

RIP

Nijah

Photography By: Nathanael Anderson

Author

Mark Stoddart

Comments

  • Rochelle posted on December 21 2017 at 04:12 AM

    Thank you once again for sharing and inspiring us.
    I’ve lost a few people this year and I became quite depressed about it. However I had to remember that those people that passed, left me with great memories and they would not want me to feel sad, nor put my life on hold. So instead I celebrated their lives and continued to try and live mine more positively during the last 3 months of this year. I turned around every negative situation, into positive. This included ensuring I do the things that I love the most “helping others, educating myself and taking risks,”

  • Akua Delfish posted on December 21 2017 at 12:12 PM

    Thank you for this Mark.

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