This I Believe

Lauren - Norman, Oklahoma
Entered on February 7, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in challenge.

Another fundamental belief I hold close to my heart is that there is nothing like a good challenge for a person to grow. Having always worked well under pressure, I think that life without a little challenge every once in a while is not living life to the fullest. Whether challenge be your career, running a 20 mile marathon, or, in the case of my dad, dealing with cancer, I believe in the old phrase “that which doesn’t kill you make you stronger.”

Seeing my father undergo chemo, surgery, and recovery for colon cancer was probably one of the most terrifying times in my life. Having to stand by and witness my dad, so strong and independent, be weak and tired after treatment, was emotionally shocking. But, even more emotional was seeing him prevail in the way he did. He never complained, he never asked why it was him that had to go through this; he just took it in stride and accepted the challenge. My father is one of the strongest people I know because of what he’s had to go through in his life, and it is for this that I love him and respect him as much as I do.

As a matter of fact, neither of my parents would be who they are without the struggles they’ve had to overcome throughout their lives. My mother, a strong Mexican-American woman who has always fervently spoken up for herself even in situations where it resulted in negative outcomes, is another reason why I love a good challenge. Suffering from a not-so-picturesque childhood, my mother made a life for herself with her bare hands, and there is nothing that I can respect more. My mother was handed no favors, given no breaks, and still managed to not just live, but live prosperously.

The challenges people go through in their life often, as many of them will tell you, change them forever. Once a moment touches you, whether negative or positive, you grow, learn, and adapt and you become wiser from it. This is the best way to learn any lesson.

In regards to my challenges, I believe that the apple doesn’t fall from the tree. In my life so far I would say the challenges that I’ve had to deal with have been relatively small-scale. But the largest challenge I’ve had to overcome has been making the choices that will certainly change the rest of my life: the choices in regards to a career. Though it is still early and I am only at the cusp of these monumental decisions, the pressure felt about choosing a path that my whole life will be altered by is extremely daunting. However, I have to have faith that I can be as strong as my father and as brave as my mother and take the challenges and hurdles life gives at me with confidence and fearlessness.

I believe that the challenges thrown to you in life make you who you are.