This I Believe

Shannon - Centennial, Colorado
Entered on November 19, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

When I was told in my 9th grade English Class that we were going to participate in the “This I Believe” Contest, the first thought that ran through my mind was “Aww man, just one more essay I have to write this week!” But then as I was walking down the hallway to my next class, I began to think. What do I believe? What do I stand for? If I die tomorrow, how will I want people to remember me by? The answer came to me in an instant, a bright flash burning its imprint onto my mind. It was so simple, and I immediately knew that it was what I hoped to live my life by. The answer to the question I was pondering was to live for the moment. Don’t be afraid to live, and love, because you might not be here tomorrow to do it. It was simple yet deep, something a 5 and 95 year old could understand and interpret in their own way according to their lives. This phrase is thrown around by coaches, parents, teachers, and my fellow classmates, but for me it goes much deeper than the idea to live for today.

When I was 10, one of my very good friends and teammates was diagnosed with Leukemia. She was very sick for what seemed like decades, and when our team split up because of a coaching conflict, the four of us decided to stick together to help her through this difficult time. When I went into the Children’s hospital for the first time, I was so nervous I was shaking. I was certain that I was going to hurt her, or that she wasn’t going to want to see me because she was so sick, or that I was going to make her sick with all the germs I had on me. But, when I walked through those doors, all I saw was Amy. Granted, she was thinner, paler, and more tired, but she still was the same girl that I had had countless sleepovers, many tears, mild times, and competitions with. She went through chemotherapy after chemotherapy, but, miraculously, she got better. As her white blood cell count grew, so did our hope for a full recovery. We prayed and hoped, and, you know what? She got better. Amy has been cancer free for 4 years now, and I thank God for every day I get to spend with her.

If there is one thing I have learned from my time spent with Amy, it is to live for the moment. Step out of your comfort zone, challenge the system, do something with your life! You don’t know how long you will get to be with the people that love you, so don’t be afraid to tell them how you feel and love them in return. Life is short, and I learned this at a very young age. We aren’t superman; we can’t break through walls without a scratch, and save the world in a day. But we can save the world one day at a time, by living for yourself, and seizing the day. So remember this as you rush to work, or to pick up your kids, or hurrying to your next class. Life is too short! Break the rules, party hard, sing out loud, cry when you need to, play in the sand, lose yourself in the moment, love you for you, love and be loved, go for it, don’t be afraid to fail, make mistakes, get messy, find true friends, dance in the rain, and, last but definitely not least, EXPRESS YOURSELF. Carpe Diem, baby.