This I Believe

Peter - Seymour, Connecticut
Entered on May 25, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: carpe diem

Life shouldn’t be led with the “what ifs”? Many take their time in life for granted and play it safe. I believe that life should be lived to the fullest because it could end just as abruptly as it began. Even though I am young and people wouldn’t see me as someone who has experienced enough to lecture about this topic, I’ve came across some missed opportunities in my life. Just recently my mother and sister traveled to the hot islands of Hawaii. I had the chance to join them in this grand getaway but chose to stay and focus on track and work to get better. I know, I know it was Hawaii how could I pass up a chance to travel there. It was a hard decision for me but I had made up my mind to stay behind. Some may say I’ll never get that opportunity again, and that may be. For my sake I still think there is time for me to travel wide. We need to take every chance we can get to grab the opportunities that catch our eye and obtain memories from it.

Back when my grandfather was a young adult he dreamed of becoming an actor. He wanted to travel to Rome from his hometown in Naples, Italy and audition in the city to kick off his dream. Unfortunately World War II came and my grandfather was drafted. He never actually went into combat for the war, but he was taken away as a reserve and was never able to follow up on his dream. After being in the war my grandfather became a mechanic and moved to the U.S. He lived out his life in this occupation until his retirement, and never had the opportunity again or the drive to become an actor. An abrupt event got in the way of my grandfather’s dream and now all he can say is “what if?”. Unexpected events happen to everyone, everywhere, all the time and a person can never know when something can come between them and their dream.

One incident that gave me a wake up call was a car crash I had experienced in the summer of 2003. One day during that summer my uncle had driven my father, my sister, and I home from my aunt’s house that evening. We needed some food from the grocery store so we stopped by the local Stop and Shop. Shortly after, by the old Middle School intersection, a woman had hit our car head-on. In those few seconds my face had slammed against the driver’s seat and everything seemed to go in sudden shock. I remember hearing my sister crying and smoke filling the air in front of me. Then I had glanced at my hands and there was blood everywhere. At that point thoughts of all kind rushed through my head like “do I have all my teeth”, “is my nose broken”, “will I ever look the same”. I panicked and rushed out of the car. Thankfully there was some nice civilians who helped stopped my bleeding, but I unfortunately had to be rushed in an ambulance to make sure I was alright. Fortunately everyone was alright and I had only sustained minor injuries that lasted a week such as, a watermelon for a left side of my face and lips that would put Angelina Jolie’s to shame.

I believe in grasping opportunities because a person only lives once. If the chance comes up where I can achieve something that is amazing, then I’d take that chance. One of my aspirations is to travel as much as possible. One of my specific locations is Australia. If I were ever given the chance to travel to Australia I would take it. In this scenario I would know that when I came back I could say I followed through with a goal and lived a little more than someone else. Which is why the statement, “Learn as if you were to live forever; Live as if you were to die tomorrow” (John Wooden) is a perfect guide to a consummated life.