This I Believe

Max - Bloomington, Indiana
Entered on November 23, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

This I Believe

I believe in living a balanced lifestyle. To me, this means living a life where there are similar amounts of work and play, tears of both happiness and anguish, guilty and well-deserved pleasures.

Long before I had this belief, I’ll admit, I wanted to be famous. I wanted to be on the cover of Time magazine or even Morning Edition, be the next Bob Woodward, Elvis Costello, or Andy Worhol. It didn’t matter, as long as my existence was known to the world.

Anyone who has ever had this yearning knows it is naïve and selfish. How can anyone expect to be famous, when you’re just one of billions of people, who all have talents, hopes, dreams, and desires? How can someone just say, I’m better than most everyone else at what I do?

Even knowing my own naiveté, I stuck with my aspiration. Until, that is, I read a book by an excellent humor/travel writer Bill Bryson. It was so well written, so filled with lush description, stomach aching humor, and well cultured character, I was amazed. I thought: how could anyone have such a wonderfully blithe outlook on life and still be so successful?

From that point on, after wolfing down most of Bill Bryson’s other books, I had an epiphany. I didn’t feel like being famous anymore. I wanted to live my life, like my new role model. Yep, you guessed him: Bill Bryson. I decided from that point on, that I was going to enjoy life while it lasted. I was going to savor every moment of it, and just live life to its fullest. I was going to make the most out of everything, and have a foolishly optimistic outlook on life and the world.

For a time, approaching life this way was fun. I decided to try new things, which led me to numerous hobbies that I liked for a time, and also my longtime love for cycling and running. It opened my once single-minded and ambitious mind to the world, and for a while, the exposure was healthy for me.

But, after I had enjoyed my honeymoon with the idea of living life in a carefree manner, I realized something was missing. I wasn’t all that happy just romping around and doing nothing. I actually wanted to set goals for myself and challenge myself working towards them. My single-minded, ambitious approach to the world was returning.

To compromise and avoid having multiple personalities, I decided to balance out my lifestyle. I wanted to work towards ambitious goals, but also have fun doing so. I wanted to have equal shares of successes and failures, good times and bad times.

And so, I believe in taking a balanced approach to life, as it keeps the two sides of me: the aimlessly carefree side, and the workaholic side, in equilibrium.