This I Believe

Patrick - Gibson City, Illinois
Entered on January 17, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I’ve come to an unfamiliar crossroads in my life. It’s taken a long time to adjust to being 17 years old, and being a senior in high school.

But now, with 131 days left until high school graduation (and counting), those adventures I had as a youngster are all being wiped away. Taking their place is a dark and confusing being called the Future.

At my age, thinking about the future is like thinking about my own nosehair. The more I do it, the more likely I am to scare myself until I have to take a deep look into the mirror to try and get a hold on reality. I get to thinking about all these different possibilities–where to go to college, what to major in, where I’ll live, who I’ll marry–that are blossoming in front of me. At least twice I week I will sit in my study hall and think so hard and long about these things, it gets to the point where I’d rather be back playing four-square outside with my friends.

But recently, an old childhood friend reminded me of a beautiful truth. Because of this lesson, I am feeling much more at ease about my future. My friend? Of course, it’s trusty chocolate pudding.

Think about your favorite snack; ice-cream sundaes, candy bars, tobacco, rainbow sherbet, whatever you like. For me, it’s chocolate pudding packs. I am not ashamed to admit that more than a few women have won my heart by giving me that sweet Snack-Packed escape from reality, but that’s for another story.

The other day I was enjoying an incredible (as always) pack. But I never really realized that for so long, pudding was race to be satisfied. Spoonful after spoonful until it’s all gone, that’s how it works, right? I didn’t know how I could be so wrong…

See, as much as I hate it to say it, sometimes pudding packs leave something to be desired. The only flaw about pudding is that it ends. And there are only really 3 spoonfuls of pudding per pack, 4 if you play your cards right. I was considering this, that day when I was feeling philosophical. To really get the full message of that pudding, you have to savor each spoonful. Let it sit in your mouth, soaking on your tongue. That day, I did just that, and I have to say my satisfaction was increased tenfold.

That’s when it finally hit me. I’m thinking too much! So many times, I’ve heard that these years are the best of my life, but now I’m worrying about a thousand tomorrows. Sure, tomorrow is important, but I’m not even paying attention to the time I get to spend with my friends. Who’s to say that after that 131st day, we part ways and never see each other again? There’s a thought that wrenches my heart more than I like to admit. More importantly, after that 131st day, who’s to say that I’ll ever have my laundry properly handled again? Who will pay my cell phone bill?

I believe in appreciation. I hope that reading this essay has reminded you to savor each spoonful life gives you; because When there’s nothing else left, when I’m wearing jeans that haven’t been washed in 2 months because I can’t do my laundry, when I’ve resorted to sending carrier pigeons because I can’t pay my cell-phone bills, I can only pray that I’ll be able to enjoy the small things.