Doing the impossible, just because we can.

Kristyn - Hot Springs, Arkansas
Entered on October 14, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

There are roughly 6,706,993,152 people in the world right now, and out of those 6.7 billion people only eight out of every 1,000 of us will die this year. Even more impressively, over 20,000 little babies will be born just like you and me. I think facts like those are enough for me to say that living has become inevitable during the constant pressure build up of life.

Life isn’t always easy. And I’d be the first to say that it isn’t always fun, but we get through it. We’re able to live, every day. Though millions of decisions face us, we decide, and over 90% of those decisions go forgotten with time. I’m not trying to say we should remember them, but isn’t it incredible to realize how much we accomplish? We do so much, without even thinking twice about it.

Still, every day there are challenges. Whether or not to wake up, crawl out of bed, and get to work, or to snuggle a little deeper into that blanket. Whether or not to flip the homeless man at that intersection the change he’s begging for, or to let those coins sit there in your cup holder for a few more weeks. Or maybe what we face is whether or not to give up, or to take just a few more steps and cross that line of safety. Whatever it is, we’re usually alright afterward.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “Energy and persistence conquer all things.” Is there any statement more true? We all get knocked down. Yet each and every day we stand up, put one foot in front of the other, and keep moving. The only question is whether or not we do it by instinct or for purpose.

Over the past summer, I got caught shoplifting. I thought my world was going to disappear. I’d always been the first-rate teenager, but somehow, as if out of thin air, I was in trouble. I was faced with a big decision –not to mention a court date–I could either stand up, get a job, and face life, or I could sit as an easily influenced teen, with nothing to live for but the hope of a future.

I soon realized the latter option was not going to fly, and a week later I was walking through downtown, grabbing job applications and chatting with the local soup kitchen director about their community service programs. On the date I went to see my juvenile intake officer to set up a court date, I was told I was going to get a break. If I agreed to pay a fee, apologize to the manager of the store I shoplifted at, and do plenty of community service, then I wouldn’t have to face the judge.

In no way was I free to go, but I was so relieved. I had a chance! I could stand up, sink my feet in, and no longer hope for a decent future, but begin creating one. Soon after the meeting with my intake officer, I got a call from my current place of employment. I had my first job interview. Everything was shaping up.

Now, I’ve been at that same job for a month, and I have big plans for the future. As college looms on the horizon, I’m able to look at it with utter confidence. No longer am I a teen, unaware of the decisions I make every day. But I’m a strong free spirit, who’s able to think for herself. I’ve come to terms with the fact that we can make it through anything as long as we refuse to give up. I read once that, “Many of the great achievements of the world were accomplished by tired and discouraged men who kept on working.” So as long as my feet hurt, and my will is strong, I’ll be walking towards the horizon.