September 26, 2006
This I Believe
I believe in doing what you love. I have found that people who do not care what other people think about them and do what they love for their own contentment are extensively happier than people who are wrapped up in trying to be cool so that others like them more. This is easier said than done, however. It is surprisingly difficult to be able to stay true to oneself, especially in a high school environment. It is very easy to be taken in by the desire to fit in as someone popular or cool rather than stand out as someone different or unusual.
Although I hate to admit it, teenagers in today’s world are socially labeled. You’re either a jock, a prep, a goth, a skater, a punk, or a nerd. And even though these labels come with many negative stereotypes I wear mine with pride. I am a “skater”. I have ridden a skateboard since about the seventh grade, and I hope to continue to do so for as long as I physically can. Throughout my skateboarding career I have been mocked, ridiculed, and thought of as a nuisance for my love of this piece of wood that I ride around town. Skateboarding is usually looked at as a public disturbance by society. However, it is what brings me the most happiness and sets me apart from most other people. It is a form of self expression and an outlet for me.
Despite my love for skateboarding, however, I was taken in by the need to fit in. During my freshmen year in high school I split ways with my skateboard. I was caught up in trying to fit in with different crowds. This led me astray from what really brings me the most fulfillment. I was not aware of it at the time, but I was denying myself one of my most basic needs- happiness. When I finally realized what I was doing to myself I had already forgotten how to do a lot of my old tricks. This was very discouraging for me but I missed skateboarding too much to stop forever. I missed the sound of the pavement under the roll of the wheels, I missed pushing myself to the point where I thought I was going to pass out before I landed my trick, but most of all, I missed the sweet satisfaction of rolling away from the trick I pushed myself so hard to do. Now that I am a little bit older and perhaps a little bit wiser, I know that, even under the pressure of being “cool”, I never want to part from this lifeless object that I fell in love with three years ago.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.