This I Believe

David - Phoenix, Arizona
Entered on May 15, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in action. One saying claims that it speaks louder than simple words, meaning that a person demonstrates their worth through their deeds. Based on my experiences so far, I could not agree more with this philosophy.

For most of my life, I’d been an introvert. I was happy to keep more or less to myself at school, watch TV for hours at home, and choose computer games over friends on the weekends. My parents tried as best as they could to help me become socialized and active. For several years, they attempted to pique my interest in sports, from soccer to tee-ball to archery, but I was more content in the end to stay within my own little sphere. I looked down on the other kids and their “childish” activities. Instead of joining them and making friends, I spent my time doing nothing.

Then came the summer between seventh and eighth grade. It was the laziest, most boring time of my life, but I still refused to leave the house. Instead, I memorized the lineup of sitcoms and game shows on network television, and camped out in front of that enchanting box every single day for months. In the morning, there was Mad About You, The Cosby Show, and The Nanny; at noon, I Dream of Jeanie and Bewitched; in the afternoon, The Drew Carey Show, Family Feud, and Seinfeld. To tell the truth, I didn’t even enjoy some of these shows. I was so determined to shun the rest of the world that I gave no regard to the 30-minute, commercial-spotted segments of my life that I was wasting.

I was stuck in a rut, but I remember the exact, gleaming moment of self-awareness that snapped me out of it. It was halfway through an episode of The Cosby Show when a beam of sunlight snuck through a crack in the blinds and shone into my eyes. Mind-splitting pain shot through my head, as I’d spent nearly all of my summer in a dimmed room. Annoyed, I squinted to block out the brightness. In that instant, however, I suddenly realized how truly pathetic it was for a boy of my age to be wasting away inside his house, while he should be embracing and exploring the outside world. I needed to stop satisfying my appetite for friendship and adventure with fictional antics on the screen. Simply put, I needed to get a life.

That day, I turned off the TV and got off the couch. I decided that I needed to try new things and develop as a person. Even if I didn’t like something that I tried, at least I knew that I didn’t have to try it again. This active personality has persisted within me to this day, as I love to be busy with a wide array of activities. I spent this year working at my first job, acting onstage in my school’s drama club, organizing a film festival, and writing a book, among other things. Each experience has provided me with a rich and unique insight into life, and I treasure them all – even the ones I hated. I hardly ever watch TV today, instead choosing a life accented by action.