This Thing We Call Life

Matthew - Greensboro, North Carolina
Entered on May 1, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

“Tonight on ABC, the fight rages on between Clinton and Obama, but first Britney Spears stops at a gas station.” As I listen to the 6 o’clock news at night, I can’t help but get sucked into the headlines until I feel overcome with helplessness.

When I was younger, I constantly worried about everything. I was afraid to leave my home and family in fear that something might happen while I wasn’t in their presence. My worry and constant fear kept me from living my life and enjoying myself.

In 2000, I took a trip with my entire family of about 30 people, to Disney World. For any kid, Disney World is a magical place where you can’t help but to feel happy. Unfortunately for me, I couldn’t enjoy my first day at one of the parks because I had to split away from my mom and hang with my cousins which is what I wanted. I was constantly crying and worried that something was going to happen to my mom or I wouldn’t be able to find her when it was time to leave the park. There was no real motivation behind my worry but I still did. What made matters worse is that we actually lost my cousin in the park that night. It turned out that he was in the bathroom and had to go really bad.

My fear and worry ruined the first half of my trip. It also caused me to be paranoid throughout my pre-teen years. Fortunately, I was able to grow out of this phase in my life and learned to enjoy it.

In looking back on my life, I realize that I am the same person I’ve always been but I am constantly refining myself to make sense of this thing we call life. During the most critical years of my life, my teenage years, I learned to be less concerned with all things negative and learned to focus on the positive aspects of life. I would much rather think about something deep and philosophical than worry about how I am going deal with rising gas prices. Everyday, the news constantly reports things that would make a person never want to leave their home. Rather than watch the news, I look at the top headlines on the Internet and enjoy the rest of my day. I am a strong believer in the idea of “I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.” I can’t allow myself to worry about things that haven’t even come to pass. The most important thing I have learned in my life is that despite what is going on in the world and with me, I can still walk with a smile on my face. Think about it, would you really want your last thought in this life to be, “ Oh my gosh, by 2019 gas prices could rise to ten dollars a gallon.”