I believe that all the choices that we make in our life lay the ground work for shaping our future tomorrow.
I didn’t always feel this way. Fifteen years ago if you told me that the mistakes that I was making then would effect me now, I would have laughed in your face and said have a nice day. As a young teen, I had to endure all the struggles and hardships faced in my neighborhood, the gangs, drugs, poverty, single family, and peer pressure.
I was lucky enough to avoid and stay away from the local gangs on the block. I believe this saved me from doing some dumb gang initiation, like burglary, theft, robbery, or worse, murder. The drugs, sad to say, I fooled around with. My drug of choice was marijuana. Later, I found that I didn’t like it, and lucky for me it was easy to walk away and not become addicted to something worse, like heroin or crack cocaine.
I guess growing up poverty was a product of our single family home. Looking back on my younger teen years, I can remember not having food to eat some days because money had to be diverted to other things, like rent and bills. Some days there were no funds to divert, so rent and bills went unpaid. Those were the days.
Out of all this, peer pressure was the hardest to overcome. As I grew up I started to hang out with people who I thought were the coolest people in the world. At the time, I didn’t know that they were just breaking me down by causing me to make choices that were shaping my future the wrong way. They didn’t literally put a gun up to my head, but they might as well. With all the drinking and partying that we did, I’m lucky to still be alive.
The choices that we make now are forever shaping our future. I chose not to run with the gangs, to leave the drugs alone, not to become another statistic of poverty, and to separate myself from all the negative peer pressures that were destroying my future. You can choose to take the low road (gangs, drugs, and peer pressure) now that will put you on a self destructive path where there will not be a future, or you can choose to take the high road and lay the ground work for a strong, bright future.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.