Routine is a powerful thing. Routine enables you to continously accomplish and perform in a way that would not be possible without it, but every once in a while something happens that completely shatters the way you look at life and your daily habits. It truly makes you re-evaluate your existence. Sadly such a thing is usually also very painful and horrible. Such a thing happened to me on Sunday the 26th of October. Sunday afternoon I received a call informing me that a very close friend of mine, Stefan Thegeby, passed away the previous day. I do not know how to express in words the void that opened in me that instant. In highschool Stefan and I were good friends, but since then our friendship has only gotten stronger. I have so much of the way I live my life thanks to him. That is why I dedicate and write this post for him.
Anyone who knew Stefan will immediately say that he was one of the most positive people they knew. That is because this is so undeniably true. Optimism does not begin to describe the outlook I think Stefan had to life. I had to honor to call Stefan a housemate for a very short period of time, huge parts of which he wasn’t even there for since I was sub-letting a room in his house during the summer, but the times he was were life changing.
Stefan and I spent countless hours talking about topics of all orders, but all our conversations ended (and many also started) with food. I have long considered myself a bit of a healthy food nut, starting way before that summer in 2014, but those conversations changed everything. I went from just being a nut to actually uplifting that important element of my life and completely rebuilding it. I distinctly remember this book he leant me while he was out of the house for the next few days, “The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth.” This book is literally a dictionary, with a double fold dedicated to each of the 150 foods, listing health benefits, useful facts, downsides and more - so not exactly bed time reading - but the fervor with which we discussed the subject caused me to read the book cover to cover in a matter of days. I can list change after change I made in my lifestyle as a result of this. I know this may seem trivial, but to me it’s not. Anyone who knows me well how strongly I enforce this food code on myself. All that started tthere, with Stefan.
I don’t only want to be intellectual and academic. Always the entertainer, local gangster, tallest man in the room or just plain coolest guy around, rarely will you find a photo of Stefan that doesn’t somewhat resemble the photo below in appearance or spirit. It is an ode to the joy and fun times I have shared with Stefan and I know he has shared with countless people. Looking at that photo I am reminded of so much. Playing ‘sandwich ball’ on senior trip in the complete dark. I’m not sure how any of us thought we could catch a volleyball in pitch darkness, but somehow we had an insane amount of fun. Going to Rock Werchter after graduation and watching Rise Against together, a band I still listen to today as a result of that concert. Wandering around the small streets in Angel, London to find an organic bar so that we could guilt-free enjoy a gluten-free pint of cider. Hanging out in Shoreditch Park at 2AM after the pub closed, deciding we had no desire to go clubbing - because that’s just what we did. These are just the greatest of many memories. I would love to hear how others remember these occasions.
I feel compelled to finish this post with what this experience has unaskedly brought me, the things Stefan continues to teach me and help me realize. It is in these thoughts, actions and memories that he will live on forever.
Taking what I have experienced in the last few days and ‘learned’ from this painful ordeal, I want to take this opportunity to also write to all the ones I love, to Stefan. The present is all we have, every moment can and should be beautiful. A routine breaking change and example of greatness reminds me and causes me to reflect. That is why I write what I do now. In this moment I apologize for things unsaid, deeds undone I should have done. There are so many people out in the world I wished I spent more time with, made more time for or simply just told them I thought of and care about them every once in a while. Many of them will never find this webpage, or will/can speak to or hear from me again, but in this moment I say this to all of you, you know who you are - you are very special to me and thank you for being an important part of my life. Stefan’s presence, which I still feel today, inspires this wisdom and that is what makes him truly great.
Thank you for sharing even a small part of your beautiful heart, soul and spirit with me Stefan.
Actually, like all conversations with Stefan (and everything in this post are things we would discuss), I want to end this post talking about food. 100% organic peanut butter, and in the 500g tubs?!…..mind blown
* I am considering this post a work in progress, I want the freedom to add to it as and when I think about and miss Stefan.