This I Believe

Nick - springfield, Illinois
Entered on December 14, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: hope, setbacks

I believe in having a sense of wonder about life. People today seem to be generally more unhappy and disenchanted with their lives, and I find that very sad. Being alive has always seemed to me to be an incredible gift that should be taken advantage of, and I sometimes find it hard to understand why some people manage to maintain a negative view of life in the face of so many things that are so beautiful and amazing.

I’m not saying this as some naïve kid that doesn’t know what real life is like. I am very aware of the ugly, nasty, negative side of life. I have been homeless twice in my life. I’ve lost the chance to ever know loved ones to suicide and murder, and I’ve recently lost a very dear friend of mine to a car accident. People very close to me have been through worse things than any person should ever have to deal with. I am painfully aware that life can be less than amazing sometimes, but I refuse to let the negativity in life get the better of me. In fact, I think that in order to fully appreciate life, you need to have been through your share of difficulty. What is happiness but a triumph over negativity? Some of the most purely happy moments in my life have been realizations that came at the end of very hard and emotional times.

I find the fact that I exist – that anything exists – to be nothing short of amazing. The odds against existence existing, and especially coming as far as it has, are ridiculously not in our favor. And all of existence, for better or worse, has been leading up to this exact moment, right now. How people are able to not find that awe-inspiring is beyond me.

Things don’t have to be big and profound like that for me to find them beautiful. Finding beauty in simple things is probably what has kept my sense of wonder alive for this long. I’ve had moments where my day has not been going well, but then I feel the wind on my skin, or maybe see the way the sun lights up a tree, and I’m in an amazing mood for the rest of the day. These little moments remind me of how lucky I am to be alive and to have the privilege to enjoy things like that.

Something happened just recently that I think is a perfect example of the what I mean. A good friend of mine recently helped me through a night that was pretty rough for me emotionally. I broke down, there were tears, it wasn’t pretty. But afterwards, we were walking around in the first snow of the year, and I started laughing. I turned to her, and I stated plainly that I really enjoyed being alive. It’s because of moments like that I feel that I can handle anything life decides to throw at me.