This I Believe

Rahul - Marietta, Georgia
Entered on December 13, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

Death. Love. A bad hair day. So many different events can alter a person’s beliefs.

The event that has changed my life is neither dramatic nor cataclysmic. In fact, most people have probably experienced this event at least once in life. Some devote their lives to such events; some shun them. Perhaps I am labeling myself as a pitiable loser when I admit the nature of this event. Perhaps I feel a need to appease my soul.

An Algebra II math test has changed my life because it has taught me to become a carefree person. Being carefree—this I believe.

Before this critical turning point in my life, I had been a person who strived for perfection. Mismatched socks troubled me. A paper out of place caused many a sleepless night. Every little imperfection had bothered me until that fateful day.

That fateful day, I received a failing grade on a math test. Upon seeing my score, I almost chuckled. I could not even imagine that it was my math test. However, slowly but surely, the hideous truth began to sink in. My parabolas were too puny. My functions were faulty. My matrices were off the mark. All I could see was red. An infinite number of mismatched socks could not emulate the pain I felt.

As time passed by, however, I began to realize that the glorified luster of perfection had blinded me from seeing the simple pleasures of life. I began to ask myself important questions. Was I forsaking my life? Did perfection appeal to me to such an extent that I would give up everything I cared for? Had I really boiled down my life down to an endless stream of numbers that only sated my lust temporarily?

The answers to these questions truly changed my life. I became a renewed spirit, cleansed of my obsession with perfection. I became carefree.

My English teacher aptly sums up the new philosophy guiding my life when she tells our class to, “just move on with our lives,” after a particularly trying test. And this is exactly what I do.

Nowadays, I am not affected dramatically by a bad day. I have learned to plough through the small obstacles that face me, whether it involves physical pain or those petulant parabolas. And though I still cannot bring myself to wear them, mismatched socks now have an artistic appeal in my mind. I have truly been enlightened.

They call it “laissez-faire” in economics. “To live and let live” is a more familiar way to put it for those who are fond of proverbs. “Just movin’ on with your life,” if you happen to be my English teacher. So many ways to express such a simple complexity. Being carefree—this I believe.