This I Believe

Laura - Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
Entered on November 13, 2006

This I believe

I believe in a simple life style. I believe in living in such a way that everyone helps out doing as much as they can with their own hands to contribute to the environment. I believe that when this is achieved everyone will feel healthy and confident and will be able to live to their best potential.

When I fill my life with unnecessary distraction it is difficult to focus on the essential things in life. It is hard not to be preoccupied by the television, computer, and every other distraction out there. I am most definitely drawn towards these diversions more than I would like to. But I also realize that the most meaningful experiences that I have had have been when I was part of a strong community, living a simple lifestyle. What’s more I know how much better I feel about myself when I am living close to other people and helping out wherever I am needed.

This summer I lived on a small organic farm in England for about two weeks. This village assisted adults with special needs while also building a close knit community where everyone played an important role. On the farm there were houses that held about fifteen people. Each day, each member of the house had jobs to do, which included cooking, cleaning, and farming; all of them contributing to the community. I spent most mornings cooking a big lunch for the house members. It felt so good to spend all morning doing something that everyone would appreciate. After the meals everyone volunteered to help out washing the dishes and clean up. Each day this basic pattern was repeated and I was surprised to find that I was not bored. Instead I always felt accomplished and productive, and there were always new challenges to face.

The odd thing for me was how much I enjoyed helping out. At home when my mom asked me to help around the house, I resisted as much as any other teenager would. But here I really wanted to help. It was incredibly rewarding, and I found myself wanting to do nothing more than to help. This was partly because the positive energy and motivation from the rest of the community made me want to contribute more. Also, you could see how what you did directly helped the community.

Coming home from this experience I felt much more eager to help out. Now in my daily life I try to help whenever I can. I realized it is a powerful thing to be part of a group of people all working to provide what we need to live. It provides an opportunity for every person to find what they are good at and become who they are meant to be. This is what I believe.

Laura Markstein (age 16)