A Never Ending Curve

Ilana - Greensboro, North Carolina
Entered on August 14, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: question

I believe in asymptotes, in lines that curves approach continuously, but never actually touch, and I hate math. I’ve even been dubbed “the non-believer” by my friends because of my passion for arguing every postulate and theorem. But as tests keep coming, friendships change with the date, and yet another country explodes in violence, I realize that the one thing I may come away from math class believing in is asymptotes.

When my pre-calc II class was first introduced to this perplexing concept, I put up my barrier and refused to believe. I understood how to find and graph vertical and horizontal asymptotes, but I just couldn’t accept that a curve could get closer and closer to a value—so close that its graph would have to continue forever—with out ever actually reaching it. It wasn’t until I was e-mailing a friend, complaining about asymptotes and indirectly math class, when I stopped and realized that I completely understood and accepted what I had just typed. For if applied to life asymptotes make perfect sense.

After my brief but monumental epiphany, I was forced to conclude my e-mail in order to attend to endless lists of things to do. At times it seems that I will never be able to complete the many tasks in front of me or relax without having to worry about an upcoming assignment or catastrophe in the world. But life is not about completing everything and finally reaching the end; life is a constant moving forward, a never ending enhancement of ourselves. Being merely a human, I may never reach the point of perfection or completeness. Yes, assignments are completed and personal goals are met; world wars are ended and nations take turns caring for each other. But my life is fluid, the world ever changing and as soon as one task is accomplished there is always something else that can be done to bring me and the world closer to completeness. With each accomplishment and new ambition, I strive to align myself with that inaccessible value, and end up experiencing the millions of points along the way.

I realize now that it is possible to move closer and closer to something for forever, for I experience this every day of my life. I can keep trying to bring myself and the world to completeness, but I know that because I am human I may never get there. And then again, that’s half the point. If I finally reached a time in which everything was complete, what would I have to do with my life? How could I then leave my mark on the world? I can only keep moving closer and closer—so close that if my life were a graph the curve would have to go on for forever.