This I Believe

Allie - Valley Park, Missouri
Entered on May 10, 2007

“Just Do It”

My philosophy for getting through life is really quite simple: just do it. There is no worse feeling than regret, wishing you’d grasped that opportunity that slipped through your fingers. When I was in the fourth grade, I had the opportunity to try out for a select soccer team. I decided not to do it because I was too scared I wasn’t going to make it. I spent the following months beating myself up over the decision I had made, and there was never a time when confusion and doubt weren’t racing through my head. In all honesty, the worst question you can ask yourself is “What would have happened had I decided to just do it?” Who knows? I could have become the next Mia Hamm. Probably not, but it wouldn’t have hurt to find out for sure.

Whenever I look to my future, I sometimes see a pretty ordinary lifestyle. Sometimes, though, I see myself conquering a new fear or pursuing a new adventure every day. When I think about that life, I smile. Who wouldn’t love the exhilarating and anxious feeling you get when you’re skydiving out of an airplane? Or climbing a 13,000 foot mountain? Now, I wouldn’t know because I have never done either of those. But I can only imagine the sense of accomplishment afterward and the eagerness to do something even more exciting the next time. Even though I can’t compete with climbing Mt. Everest, I can say from experience that it pays off to just do it. This year I got the chance to try out for the High School National Lacrosse Team. Making the team meant traveling to the East Coast to play in front of scouts from any college you could name. I was hesitant because I knew I was going to be on the field with girls who had played this sport for many more years than I had, but I also knew I had it in me, and there was no way I was going to let another great opportunity slip away. After eight hours of gruesome hot weather and competition, to say the least, I knew I had given it my all and I was most proud of myself. I didn’t make the team, but there is no way that I can say I was disappointed in what I had done. I was ready to go to a different audition and challenge myself even more.

I would much rather live a life full of courage and satisfaction, knowing that I can do anything; it’s just a matter of actually doing it, rather than live a life full of regret, watching people do things I know I have the ability, just not the guts, to do. I know it doesn’t pay off to spend all of my time making lists and lists of things I hope to accomplish in my life time. I try to look at my life as the “now” and accomplish all of those things so I have all the time in the world to start a new list.

I realize that not trying out for a soccer team in the fourth grade probably doesn’t seem like the biggest upset of the century, but I still feel that common, nagging feeling: regret. I also know that what I felt after my lacrosse try outs my junior year, and what I felt after my what-could-have-been soccer try outs in the fourth grade are two completely different feelings. And I can tell you this without looking back: I hope to never feel what I felt in fourth grade again. So, take my advice. Whether it’s applying to your dream college or going to that job interview that requires a lot more experience than you actually have, just do it.