This I Believe

Michael - Downers Grove, Illinois
Entered on December 6, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

The stars are best seen when I am lying upon my back on a trampoline, in a backyard, amongst my friends. Every summer evening we would choose – rather than stare at TV screen or blow our money getting food – to lay there, face up, watching the few stars glitter from the mesh of the trampoline. Our socks and bare-feet would be wet from the moist grass, but on the trampoline we rested dry and secure within its safety-net. Across the sky, stars bright enough to break through the light-muck thrown up by the malls and towering metropolises defiantly shined down on us. We talked softly – laughing, conversing, debating – our voices carrying through the long-since retired neighborhood.

There my friends and I would lie, drenched in the nothingness of summer and youth. The trampoline was the platform for it all, and though I can’t take the physical manifestation along, the mental outlook it gave me can be carried wherever I go. I believe that resist the light-muck in the world, we all must take a moment to relax with our friends on a trampoline.

My friends and I would bounce every night without talking, jumping harder, faster, and releasing the stress from the day. I would spring ever higher – perhaps collide with a friend – and my stress would be gone. Life can be treated the same way. When there is too much clouding my brain, too much smog and yelling and due dates, I just need to hop around. I try to find the hobby or past-time which releases my stress and replaces it with a smile and a laugh. Whenever I find myself without a trampoline, I just need to find a replacement. I just need to bounce a little.

Bouncing is tiring though, and while a hobby may put a smile back on my face, it is always important to stop and simply fall back on the springy fabric. Just as my friends and I spent hours lying on the trampoline, so too must I gaze upwards and take a moment to let my mind wander. In other words: relax. I can look back on my life that way – on all the problems and stresses – and everything looks so much smaller. It’s like running a marathon and giving the race all I can, but to stop and look back on how far I have come gives me a greater sense of accomplishment. There on the springy surface of the trampoline, isolated in its safety-netting and hidden in the backyard, I can find that feeling of self-worth and progress.

I believe life is a muck of light after another, all blocking the view of my stars. To find those shining beacons in my life I have to first discover my trampoline. Whether it is a hobby, a quiet place for reflection, or just a conversation with friends; I need to find my springy surface—my safe place of support. Only then can I find my stars.