This I Believe

Erica - Papillion, Nebraska
Entered on December 14, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: setbacks

HANGING ON

A great quote by Franklin D. Roosevelt is “When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” Almost everyone has a time when they are at their ultimate low or close. Trying to regain one’s life hardly seems possible. I will admit that I have been there and found it hard to know what to do. But I have learned through such experiences that hanging on, tying a knot and then climbing upward, hand over hand, is the best option, even though the climb may be difficult.

For me, there was a time when everything seemed to be going wrong. Some of my teammates went behind my back and spread rumors. I had to explain the situation to others to avoid losing respect. At the same time there were concerns at home. My aunt was experiencing heart trouble, my grandfather was being tested for a possible reoccurrence of cancer, and my favorite cousin was assigned to Iraq. A particularly bad time was when I held Ginny, my childhood pet as she was put to sleep. And to add to my concerns, I severely sprained my ankle and was looking at the possibility of major reconstructive surgery and the potential disappointment of having to drop out of gymnastics. My future, that used to look so bright, started to look dim and uncertain. There was a great deal of pain, overwhelming pressure and fear of loss. I was at a point where all I wanted was to let go of that rope. It felt like more and more weight kept getting tied to my ankles and was pulling me down.

Then, I remembered something that a previous gymnastics coach had once told me. She said that giving up is the easy way to go and that succeeding in life is never easy. A person needs to keep a positive attitude and, when things go wrong; take one baby step at a time until you are back where you want to be. This is what I believe and what has influenced my life. Whenever I wanted to quit, I stayed on the rope and attacked tasks one at a time. I stayed late at school and met with my teachers to get caught up. I made myself do extra conditioning in the gym to stay in shape when I could not do full practices. And things began to get better. My ankle is nearly healed and I am pushing forward in school. I learned that, while I could not change the negative things that happened to me, I could control my response, so I stayed positive.

Altitude is determined by attitude. I heard this cliché once. It means a person’s attitude will determine how successful a person can be. So, anytime that I see a friend in trouble, I tell them that, in order to get through life, a person must stay positive and hang on to that rope and then begin to climb.