This I Believe

Andrea - Traverse City, Michigan
Entered on May 22, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

Life must be Lived Without the Fear of Regret

Soon I will be graduating high school. Throughout high school I never received a detention, got in any kind of trouble, or found myself ever breaking the rules. And although I used to pride myself upon this, recently I have realized I will leave high school and my teenage years with much regret. I am graduating with good memories, but not many great ones. I looked at situations as calculated risks that were never worth the reward, and I realize now that this was my biggest miscalculation. I am not advocating being rebellious, I am only encouraging taking risks, and if lucky, basking in the rewards. This is something I feel I have experienced seldom in my short eighteen years of life. It is not that I think I am unlucky, I have just never relied on luck, and as quixotic as it may seem, luck seems to play a bigger part in life than I once thought. I have played by the rules, always in fact, and although I have won many honors and the respect of my teachers, parents, and administrators I find I have let one of life’s greatest gifts slip through my fingers.

All my life I weighed the consequences of everything, and I seemed to grow from fun-loving child straight to practical adult, simply bypassing my teenage years. But now as I embark upon adulthood I find myself longing to take chances. Chances that now would not be seen as the result of simple teenage ignorance or curiosity, but looked at as immature and irresponsible for my age. I missed my chance to make mistakes and learn from them, to break the rules and face the consequences, to take a risk and see it actually pay off. I lived my life thus far with the single purpose of avoiding having regrets in the future and find this has resulted the biggest regret of all.

I believe life must be lived without the fear of regret. I have but one life, and infinite things to do with it, so what a shame it would be that on my dying day I realize I went through life merely avoiding consequences, never seeking enjoyment, fun, or true fulfillment. I look forward to the rest of my life, knowing it will be filled with much more excitement than this first chapter. I never would have guessed that I would leave high school with this revelation, but cannot think of a more valuable lesson to have learned.