This I Believe

John - Wilmington, Delaware
Entered on December 13, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: carpe diem

This is what I believe: life sucks. Pardon my French but it’s plain and simple: life sucks. Having only spent 17 years on this earth, I have learned this fact very quickly. After going through all of my life (short be as it may but still a lot) experiences and seeing many things, I have come upon this pessimistic view.

Life on planet Earth can be broken down into three basic steps: birth, reproduction, death. That is all. We are meant to just pass on the seed. You can look at any organism on Earth and you clearly see these three steps. Why does a squirrel live? Simple: reproduce and keep the species alive. A common house fly only lives about fifteen to thirty DAYS! What is their purpose on Earth? Why do they live for such a short time period? It’s easy: nothing. They do nothing. They are unimportant. A fly in India somewhere is probably just buzzing around making life suck for somebody else. The real world is terrible.

But as I think about this subject and all these questions and thoughts swirling around in my mind, I realize that even though everyone tells me I can make a difference in the world someday, I really can’t. I am insignificant. So what if I grow up and become a doctor? So what if I don’t and drop out of high school? So what if I die tomorrow? The world will keep going, the sun will still rise and the Eagles will still play on Sunday (or Monday). It is a terrible viewpoint to have but I know it’s true. It makes me sad to think that in the grand scheme of things, I do not matter. Which leads me back to my original point.

After seeing my parents divorce over a period of 10 years after my father cheated on my mother and left her to raise three boys by herself which she did flawlessly, the suicide of the aunt who I loved dearest and was so close to, the imprisonment of an uncle and the internal family squabbling about who was right and where their loyalties lied, the death of my mother after seeing her struggle everyday with such a painful disease and watching as towards the end of her beautiful life her doctors just gave up and allowing her to die a slow, agonizing death, and finally front-row seats to the slow decline of my grandfather who has guided and taught me throughout my life and is one of the smartest people I know then seeing how much he struggles to remember what was said a moment ago; I realize that that is life and it’s horrible. I am sure there are many more people out there who have it much worse than I, but that is not my point; my point is that I (and we as humans and living things on this planet) have nothing to look forward to. The world is a harsh place filled with disappointment and failure. Everyone that you love, your family, your friends, even your mailman will die. That is life. It sucks. But there is nothing we can do about it.

But there is something else my experiences have taught me, something quite different: cherish and enjoy the small things. Be happy when you have exact change or when you are parking and there is enough space to pull your car through or when things just seem to fit together perfectly, just perfectly. I find almost everyone around me (and including myself) to go through life so fast and always look ahead towards the future. Little children want to others not call them “babies” or teenagers want to get out of high school, drink beer, and have sex or people in their twenties or thirties want to get married and have kids then once they have kids, they want to retire and get away from their kids. My message is a plain one: enjoy the life you have and take pleasure in it when good things happen because they are so few and life is so short. I will end on an optimistic note and share a bit of advice from a great scholar and thinker, Mr. Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” That is what I truly believe.