This I Believe

Shelby - Whitefish, Montana
Entered on December 3, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: change

I Believe

New experiences are vital to one’s existence, and the adventure of trying something new clearly adds to the quality of life. However, everyone is raised in some form of a culture with traditions and rituals that become custom. Naturally, people often become dependent upon these customs until they are stuck in routines and don’t take the risk to explore other areas in life. Through adventure, or new experiences we can learn of pleasures or discomforts that we would have never known otherwise. Ultimately they can help shape who we are. I believe in adventure.

By definition adventure is an unusual experience or risk, but the risks don’t necessarily need to be life-threatening or endangering. The simplest risk that I find rewarding is trying new types of food. I’ve never been a picky eater, but I think this is a result of my personality more than my taste buds.

The first time I saw sushi it looked so odd wrapped in the dark green substance I knew to be seaweed; however, after my first bite I was hooked. This seemingly unappetizing food transformed into a favorite meal. When people grow up they seldom break away from the comfort zones in their culture because anything different seems absurd or unappealing, but if there is an interest and will to branch out, the rewards can be priceless.

This interest and will, or curiosity, is the root of adventure. Montana provides endless inspiration for imagination and curiosity; the woods are so vast and mysterious the young mind yearns to explore. American culture raised me to believe girls should always be clean and presentable, but all I wanted to do as a child was dig in the dirt and run around in my own imaginary world to my hearts content. I’m glad I ventured away from the norm and discovered at a young age that stereotypes are misleading and false. As I’ve grown older I’ve continued to learn more about gender roles through PEACE and also racial stereotyping. I’ve learned that I have to define myself by experiencing life and making my own judgments rather than live inside the invisible categories I was born into. Although I am not always impressed by a new thing, the rewards are worth the few repercussions that could result.

One way to expand perceptions and learn of new experiences is through traveling. I’ve witnessed diversity in many cities in the U.S and some abroad that broadened my perspective. I watched people my own age find their way alone in Barcelona, San Fran Cisco, Seattle and Atlanta. They were so independent it inspired me to try more on my own. I am grateful to have been raised where I was, but a small town didn’t expose me to many of my current interests and passions.

I entered high school shortly after my sister left for college and was lost without her. I transformed from following in her footsteps to discovering my own talents and interest. I found a passion for art and became involved in new activities like PEACE and Peer Court and spent more time improving hobbies like skiing that meant the most to me.

The new terrain I explored in high school makes me eager to learn of further possibilities in college and the future. Although my life may not appear adventurous to any outsider, I know that I’ve branched out enough to build a growing curiosity for the world around me and I hope to help others to take a risk and reap the rewarding experiences that I have. A small step outside of the comfort zone can make life richer in the end.