This I Believe

Shannon - New Orleans, Louisiana
Entered on October 10, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

There is not a soul in the world who can say that he will live forever. We are all destined to die at some point, whether we want to or not. There are some people who are afraid of death. I, on the other hand, am not afraid. I believe in living every day as if there is no tomorrow so that I can live my life to the fullest.

Too many people go through life without ever truly experiencing life itself. They never take any risks or step “outside the box.” They never stop to appreciate the beauty of nature or watch the sun as it rises over the horizon. They never stop to lend a hand to a neighbor or to say hello to the new girl in class. It’s all of these little life experiences that truly make life worth living.

I used to be the type of person who would pass up these chances. I was afraid to let myself speak up for fear of being criticized or fear of rejection. Now, I’ve come to realize that life is too short to worry about such petty details. If I have an idea, I’ll speak up. If I have a problem, I’ll try to fix it. I let myself be bold and outgoing, not just a wallflower hiding in the background. When I look back on my life someday, I don’t want to have to regret all of the chances I didn’t take or all of the things that I did not do. I want to be able to feel accomplished.

My great-aunt Marie is the epitome of what I believe in. Although she is in her early nineties, she has the youthful spirit of someone in her twenties. Up until a few years ago, she tapped danced in retirement homes, often for people younger than even she was. She takes life one day at a time, and I have rarely seen a smile leave her face. Even skin cancer was not able to slow her down. She lives each day as if she’ll never have another day to live. When I am her age, this is the type of person I aspire to be. I don’t want to regret the decisions I never made or the things I didn’t do; I want to be able to feel as if I’ve done all that I was meant for.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “It’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” I can say from all my past experiences that I now know how to live my life to the fullest. I don’t want to have regrets, and I want to make the most of the time I have in this world. This is what I firmly believe.