This I Believe

Emily - Western Springs, Illinois
Entered on February 24, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: carpe diem

Emily M

Mrs. Manthei

IPC Accel.-Period 2

25 February 2008

This I Believe

I believe that important things in life are worth taking a risk. If you chose not to take a risk because of possible negative outcomes, you may miss out on the experience that could change your life.

It was the winter of 2003 and I was in 5th grade. One day I came home from school to find a letter in the mail for me. As my mom handed it to me, I read the return address label as I always did. “People to People”, I thought to myself. “I wonder what this is?”. I tore it open with great anticipation and began reading. The letter was inviting me to go to Australia with a group of peers that coming summer. It would be for 16 days, and we would embark on adventures such as snorkeling, horseback riding, and sightseeing. My mom was reading along with me and had a very confused look on her face. She explained that I was only in 5th grade, and traveling on the other side of the world without my family was a ridiculous idea. How would I be able to manage my money for over 2 weeks? I was only going to be 12 years old! What if I got lost? Even with her discouraging remarks, I was ecstatic and managed to convince my parents to attend the informational meeting with me a few weeks later.

On the car ride home from the meeting, I was trying my hardest to convince my parents that I was responsible enough to travel without them. My parents insisted that even if I was, they would be considered insane for allowing their child to travel alone at such a young age. There were so many things that could go wrong. What if I lost my passport? What if I got sick and needed to go to the hospital? What if I got homesick? The list was endless. They seemed to be concentrating on the negatives, and that began to worry me and make me think that maybe I was too young. Even with my concerns, I could not help but go through the itinerary over and over in my head, each time realizing how life changing the trip would be. I told my parents that you can not over analyze situations and worry about everything that could go wrong. If you did it would be considered too dangerous to do everything and you would never take a risk, even if it was a risk worth taking.

In the end, my parents did let me go to Australia that summer. We all quickly realized that being afraid of everything that could go wrong will never get you anywhere in life. Everything worthwhile involves taking a risk, and without taking that risk you will miss out and have regrets that can never be reversed.