This I Believe

Annie - Glendale, California
Entered on June 17, 2007

I believe in giving up. Find a dream, go for it with all your heart, and if by chance it does not work out, give it up. Let it go. Move on. Find a new dream and go for it with all your heart.

This past spring my dream of making it to the State Finals of track and field and receiving a scholarship to run in college died. That had been my dream since childhood. To me, getting an athletic scholarship seemed like a right of passage in my family. With all of their various achievements already in tow, it was as if everyone assumed I would be next in line and get a full ride to some grand PAC 10 college, and so had I. When I joined the track team my freshmen year I was a natural, beating many of the upperclassmen in my league. My sophomore year I was even better and everyone was so excited to see what would come next and how far I would go. It seemed only logical that a person gets better with each year they are in a sport, especially when they dedicate themselves to it. So I gave up playing soccer in order to focus on my running, and I practiced and practiced and practiced. The thought of failing never even crossed my mind, but I was in for a rude awakening.

The first track meet our school competed in I lost. It was a slap in the face. Something had gone terribly, terribly wrong and I was in disbelief. How was I possibly going to go to the State meet and achieve my dream if I couldn’t even win these races now? I had thought up until then that A plus B equals to C; hard work plus desire equals to a scholarship and success. But life cannot be defined by an equation and life is not always fair.

I still believed, however, even after that first initial slap. But the slaps continued. Every race I lost at every track meet had the same effect on me and hurt the same amount, with the cold feeling of despair creeping over me. Slap, slap, slap. I kept asking myself, “How could this be happening to me? After all my hard work and sacrifice, was it all for nothing?” I didn’t want to let go or move on, but I had to. I was not only becoming despondent about my athletic career, but now this feeling of hopelessness was spreading into my everyday life. My now dead dream was killing me inside and I had to give it up. I had to let go. I had to move on.

Giving up on something is okay. And so is failing. And losing. I have discovered that the beautiful thing about giving up is that once you do it, you are free to discover a new passion and a new dream. I now can explore a totally different region of my life and work just as hard at it and love it just as much. If I were to hold on to just one dream I would never be able to experience new ones, and what fun is that? And guess what? If I fail at this next dream this time I don’t have to deal with the slapping anymore, because I now am aware of the fact that not everything is possible and not all dreams are achievable, no matter how hard you try. And that’s okay. I’m not saying you should be pessimistic about life or never dream, because dreaming allows you to experience life to the fullest. Dreams invoke a beautiful passion within you and teach you many great things. I’m not even saying that you should give up without a fight. You should fight for your dreams till you can’t fight anymore. What I am saying is this. You should have many dreams throughout your life to allow you to experience every aspect of life to its very fullest in every way you can imagine. This I believe.