This I Believe

Robin - Healdsburg, California
Entered on March 18, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I haven’t made any notable achievements in my lifetime. The only awards that I’ve won are Student of the Month in elementary school, Spelling Bee champion in junior high, and second place in an academic pentathlon. I am not on any sports teams or committees, and I spend most of my free time reading, instead of working on more useful skills and becoming a leader. But I am very happy with my life, nevertheless, and I relish the time that I spend dreaming, without doing very much acting. I often think about a story called “Star Food”, by Ethan Canin, which my English class was assigned to read during eighth grade. It’s about a boy named Dade who doesn’t lead a very productive life in the eyes of others; he spends most of his time sitting on the roof of a store, simply thinking. My class discussed the story, and I was heartbroken by their reaction to it. Their conclusion seemed to be that the boy wasn’t very useful in any way, and that he needed to “get a life.” But I felt, and still feel, very much like the boy in that story. I don’t feel the need to get as much done as I can in my lifetime, because the moments that I spend alone, considering the future and my surroundings, are what make me truly happy. A few of the people in my life think it’s a waste of time. They often tell me that I should get a real job, play some sports, and join some clubs, so that I can make good use of my life. However, I know many people my age whose days are filled with activities, and these individuals are considered to be promising and successful. But when I look closer, I notice that many of them are miserable. To me, contemplation is just as valuable as making money and winning awards. Even though I might never actualize my ideas, I am comfortable knowing that I have spent most of my life cheerfully hoping and daydreaming instead of forcing myself to do things that I’m not interested in. I believe that my success in life can only be measured by my own satisfaction, instead of my accomplishments.