This I Believe

Sam - Granville, Ohio
Entered on November 13, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: carpe diem

I believe in spontaneous experiences. Spontaneous experiences enrich and provide a backdrop for an enlightened perspective. After moving to rural Virginia, the importance of spontaneity became evident to me from the start. I realized that following a strict format for social interaction based on previous experiences after moving schools was not going to get me through what appeared to be a rough couple of years ahead. Initially, I believed I could make it through by immersing myself in school work and finding fairly structured social activities to get involved in. However, I learned fairly quickly that the No Child Left Behind train had come to town to stay and placed limitations on anything and everything relevant that could be discussed in a classroom. Additionally, the structured social activities came in the form of youth groups and boy scouts, two things I wanted to stay far away from.

Instead, my learning and socializing occurred outside of the classroom in the most spontaneous of situations, produced by people who I would not have met if I had simply closed myself off and limited myself by holding social interactions to a previous standard. I looked as hard as I could for the good in the people who were considered by the majority to be some of the worst. I found it. I thrived on the experiences that were given to me by the barrel full by my new guides. I looked past their preconceived judgments of me, in the hopes that they would follow in my footsteps of doing the same about them. They did.

As a result, I was taken to places I had never expected to go. I went to parties in huge farm fields with burning fires of saved Christmas trees that released a sweet smelling pine into the atmosphere as diesel fuel was poured onto their burning carcasses. The fire cast a stream thirty feet into the air lighting up the night sky. I learned how to produce smokier burnouts after leaving the drag strip by releasing the clutch at just the right time in the RPM band. I was taken to the heights of the Appalachian mountain range and to the lows of the TVA controlled lakes. Through all of this, I watched, learned, and eventually contributed as best I could to dissecting the meaning behind these experiences. Each time I reflected on an experience, I developed a feeling that my mother aptly characterized as, “feeling the way no one else has felt before.” I embraced that feeling and continue to as it always enriches my life in ways that are so unexpected and beautiful. In saying all of this, I am not advocating a carefree lifestyle nor am I saying that my years in high school were the best years of my life: they were not. However, my perspective now and always will be enhanced by the moments where I embrace spontaneity and for that reason, I will always believe in spontaneity.