This I Believe

Katherine - Sandy Hook, Connecticut
Entered on May 30, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I believe that I have a purpose in life. While I am living, I will search to find this meaning, and strive to achieve it. Many people, however, get caught up in this search in fear that they will leave the earth without fulfilling their purpose. To live for the sole purpose of achieving this ultimate goal is not to live a complete life. The journey to discover my purpose and the steps I will take to accomplish it are far more important than the goal itself.

In my life, I must live in each moment without reservation. John Lennon once said “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” Those who travel down the road of life with their eyes peering forward see only what is directly ahead of them. The problem with this is that the path of life is rarely straight and clearly marked. If I leave my eyes set on the future, I will miss out on far more than I will gain by looking ahead. On a particularly beautiful day, I hiked up a mountain on the majestic cliffs of the Maine coast. As I approached the peak the trees became smaller and thinner, until finally a breathtaking panoramic view was revealed. Living life in the moment, I took time to revel in the stirring splendor, taking in the scene around me. If I had not committed my life to enjoying the journey and had kept my sights set on the future, I would have progressed onward without noticing the glorious display of natural beauty. I would not have seen the expansive ocean and the jagged red cliffs on the shore nor the curvature of the earth that made me feel so small.

I believe that, ultimately, it is my character that defines how successful I am in life. My success as a person cannot be marked by where I end up in twenty, thirty, or forty years, but rather the steps that were taken to get there. It is my integrity, my relationships, my morals, that define me as a person. I will gain all of these qualities from my experiences in life. It is through experiencing defeat and having the courage to pick myself up and try again that my character is strengthened.

I believe that only those who live life in the moment are able to finally serve their purpose in life. Fatigue engulfed my body as I climbed the mountain and I was tempted to turn back. As I looked up to the summit I saw foreboding stone ledges and difficult terrain. I put my doubts aside and continued along the path. When I reached the peak and saw the majestic view it was even more incredible. Those who relish the individual moments of their lives find that their goal is attainable and their purpose is fulfilled.

I believe that in order to feel the desired sense of accomplishment from living a fulfilled life, I must learn from my mistakes and revel in the inspirational beauty of life. I believe that my life is not measured by where I end up, but rather by the footprints I leave on the trail.