Right now I believe in dark chocolate, pajama pants, RENT, fake pearls, cheerwine, empire-waist dresses, God, jaywalking, and rain boots. But what I believe in next week or even tomorrow may be completely different. But I believe that’s ok. I’m inconsistent but I’m me and that’s what’s important. I don’t wear the same clothes every day, so why should my beliefs be unchanging. Life is an epic movie, not a photograph. The changes make it interesting; they add action and drama. Pictures can be beautiful but they only capture a moment. Why cherish just one when there is a lifetime of beautiful moments to treasure?
It’s hard to write out my beliefs because they are always in motion and seemingly impossible to pin down. I’ve thought a lot about applying to college and what I’m going to say. Every one I’ve talked to says you have to stand out, find what makes you different from the pack and show it off. We’re getting to the end of the year and people are going their separate ways, and it’s made me examine my own path. It seems like every one I know has at least one thing that they really succeed at. At the academic, sports, and band banquets I see my peers who have really devoted themselves to something and are going far with it. I look at my self and wonder what I will say to these colleges, how will I distinguish myself? I’m smart, but not an exceptional scholar. I play sports, but I’m not a stellar athlete. I’m in the band but I’m certainly not an outstanding musician. When Mr. McCurdy asked me where I wanted to go to school and what major I planned to pursue, I didn’t have a clue how to answer. I pick a new first choice school every week based on the college mail I get. My career choice has morphed from movie star, into lawyer, into president, into fashion designer, into engineer, and right now I’m considering working as a princess in Disneyland. But as I thought more about it, I decided it was ok to just be me, who ever I decide that is. I can check the box for “undecided” major, and I can apply to college representing myself with a motley selection of activities and interests. The most important part is that I choose who that me is going to be. I don’t need be a track star or get a bunch of academic awards to try to win the affection of my parents. I don’t need to dress a certain way to impress my friends. I don’t need to join a lot of clubs to pack my college applications. I believe in doing what I want to do for me.
Jean Jacque Rousseau believed that people were corrupted by society because they were interdependent on each other and lost their individuality. He loved the idea of the “noble savage” whose joy came from its self-sufficiency and a positive self-love, not pride. When the individual begins defining himself with pride he depends on the opinions of others, therefore losing his sense of self. I believe in living for me, doing the things I want because I choose them. In the words of Natasha Bedingfield, “I am unwritten, can’t read my mind, I’m undefined.” And I believe that’s all right, because life is a journey and I am redefined by every step. I believe in remaining undecided for now and enjoy being spontaneous, but when I do choose to establish who I am I want to define myself for me and what I want to be, not any one else.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.