Simply put, I believe in the right to life. When I say right to life, I’m not talking about abortions and its controversial debate, but more so I am talking about the right to live your life the way you want to live your life. The right to just live period! Life throws many curveballs, but people still find ways to live their life the way they want to. These curveballs can be an accident or the death of a close friend or losing something of value. There are even rules and guidelines that are created to tell you how to live your life. Rules created by people centuries ago.
This aspect of following rules affected me when I heard a story in my Sociology course at Penn State University. The professor was telling us of a story in which one of his students lost a close friend, a friend that he grew up with and knew for four years. Unfortunately, one day that friend passed away. The student wanted to miss a day of classes to attend the services. When he approached his teacher, his teacher asked if it was a family member. The student replied no and was told that if he skips class then it will count as an unexcused absence because according to university policy it has to be a family member. Hearing something like that truly bothers me. When did we as a society lose our hearts and become robots to rules. I am actually happy to say that student eventually skipped the class to attend the services. He is living his life.
There are times where I complain about how bad my life is. I tell stories of how I have experienced things that no one at the age of 21 should experience. I even experienced things that people who live to 80 have never experienced. Yet there are rarely times where I take a step back and look at the big picture. I walk around New York City and I see people on wheelchairs without their legs smiling and living their life. I look at myself and realize I have all my limbs. I know of a kid in my local bowling alley, who is ten and recently lost his father to a heart attack. Even two weeks after his father’s death, he is smiling, having fun with the other kids. I look at myself and realize I have both of my parents still living strong and healthy. I know of childhood friends who are no longer alive. I look at myself and at 21 I am healthy and still alive. I then realize I am living my life.
I don’t want to sound preachy, but it is rare to see people truly appreciate what they have, this includes myself. I am 21, about to become a college graduate, I have my health, my family, and I also realize I need to appreciate my life and realize that I am living my life.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.