This I Believe

Ralph - Homer Glen, Illinois
Entered on May 5, 2007

Master of Tides

Dr. Kennedy

College Writing II

April 23, 2007

A Life Without Worry

I believe that there are no overwhelming situations, only people who can be overwhelmed. Throughout my life, I have heard people talk of situations being overwhelming, but doesn’t that only mean that they themselves are beleaguered by the situation? If someone lets a situation get to them simply because it seems impossible at a glance, then of course they will lose hope. Even if they proceed to test the situation, to see if it is truly a lost cause, the sheer weight of the workload, or the importance of doing well can pressure one into thinking it cannot be done, but this is simply what the person believes. There is yet no way to prove if a situation is truly impossible.

This belief comes from my experiences with listening to island-type music. The lyrics usually speak of taking it easy in life, and not worrying about things. I believe Jimmy Buffett may have said it best with the phrase, “Don’t worry, ‘cause it ain’t gonna fix a thing.” Thanks to these songs, and the messages therein, I have learned to stop and look at situations before judging them in any way. After careful analysis, I can determine if there is truly anything to be upset about. Through this method, it is usually a rare occurrence indeed if anything can provoke me to worry. Thus, I am almost never overwhelmed, no matter how dire the position I am in. For example, I often hear students talk of how taxing final exams can be on both mind and body. These exams are, after all, an integral step towards the future of any student. Now, if I look at it with that mindset, of course I’m going to get stressed out. Rather, I try to see it for nothing more than what it is; a set number of questions that you must attempt to answer. By not allowing myself to become stressed, and looking at things from this unique viewpoint, I have been able to release the tension from this and a number of other situations in my past.

The moment in my life that first led to this decision was actually quite recent. It was my sophomore year at Lockport Township High School, and I was known by many as a strange person. I insisted on doing things my own way at all times. My taste in music was no exception; I had just started listening to my cherished island songs at this time, while most of my male peers preferred heavy metal or rap. Despite the ridicule I recived from others, I continued to listen to these tunes, even in the locker rooms between football practices. Late in the sophomore season, our team’s performance led us to an unprecedented position; we were to play for the State Championship. There was much excitement of course, but also much anxiety; what if we were to lose? How would we live down such a missed opportunity to elevate our school’s name? These were my thoughts at first, but then, as I pressed the “Play” button on my CD player, I was once again greeted with a message of no worries. Since being stressed was ravaging my body with the marks of worry, I decided to try taking the song’s message to heart. I cleared my mind of everything, forced myself to forget about the meaning of our game, and just looked at it as though it were a friendly competition with friends. Quite soon, the nausea quelled, the headaches stopped, and I was able to sleep easier. By the end of the week, I returned home from the game with both my new status as a champion, and a decision to make this calm way of living my absolute.

Perhaps I am simply apathetic, and that is the true reason for my lack of worries, but I remain firm in my belief. After all, if I were to question the logic behind my stress-free life, I would run the risk of contradicting my own philosophy. If you wish to attempt a life bereft of strife, try out this simple pattern the next time you find yourself getting overly stressed; breathe in, breathe out, move on.