This I Believe

Rebekah - State College, Pennsylvania
Entered on December 10, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: carpe diem

Life can be either truly magical or terrifying. It’s truly up to us. This I believe.

In social studies class during 7th grade I would pass notes back and forth with my friend Ashley. We were both fairy princesses from the enchanted isle of Ireland. I wanted to travel the world and Ireland would be the first stop.

As a college sophomore I had perfect grades, fun friends, and a boyfriend I unfortunately took for granted. I was also a member of the honor’s society which allowed me to finally go to Ireland and to share a magical voyage with my boyfriend and all my friends.

One night while I was driving home from school I was hit by a tractor trailer which caused my car to flip over two times. I thought my life was over and within seconds I realized that I was not ready to die. There were so many things left unsaid and the ones I cared the most for would have to do all the suffering. When I opened my eyes to oncoming traffic I vowed to live my life differently.

Weeks following the accident everything was fine. I really felt good about my life after surviving with nothing but a scratch on my pinky finger. Five months later I was planning my trip to Ireland and two weeks after that I was sitting on a plane.

It was in Ireland that my bubble burst. My trip turned out to be a nightmare, not a dream come true. My boyfriend broke up with me, my friends deserted me and I was left all alone in a foreign country to dwell in my absolute misery. It was hell and when I came back home the trees never look so big and the world never looked so small. I felt as if I had seen the world, but at the cost of my heart.

More than a year has passed, my heart has healed and I am no longer left with painful memories, but rather lessons that have helped me become the person I had always wanted to be. What I have grown to accept is that our lives are what we make them and tomorrow is always another day to start anew. We should not look down on ourselves or blame others if our plans go awry and when our best intentions are misunderstood. We should look at these challenges as obstacles in life to overcome.

We must not look at every problem in our lives as a fly to shoe away. Lessons don’t happen all at once. It takes time to decipher an epiphany and meanwhile we should do what we can not only to help ourselves on life’s adventure, but to help others as well. This is what I have learned from my traveling experience as well as my narrow escape with death: Life is a journey, an adventure and a lesson that never ends.