Life Is a Gift You Should Never Waste

Madalyn - Lenexa, Kansas
Entered on January 12, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe that life is a gift that should never be wasted.

I’m eighteen years old and while a part of me matures the other part still lives in La La Land. I still sleep with a stuffed animal, get scared when there’s a bad storm, and harass my parents to someday take me to Disney World. Although this type of maturity exists another part of my immaturity leads to gossip at school, act too cool at parties, and idolize the girl with designer jeans. It’s typical for a high school student to get caught up in friends and material things. So when one finally gets that wakeup call, everything changes. Sometimes this realization comes from faith, nature, or even maturity; however mine came from a death.

I always knew my uncle could be considered the odd ball but I never looked at him that way. Most of the family treated him poorly but I always gave him a chance. My uncle was an alcoholic which didn’t sit well in my neck of the woods. By his mid thirties he divorced leaving behind his four beautiful daughters. As he went through selfishly drinking each day, he failed to notice something called life.

Through rehabs, DUI’s, and prison a man I called my uncle missed out on graduations, birthdays, holidays, and two weddings. The two weddings that took place both walked down without their father. I liked to think that after my Grandfather died this past summer he might change his life around. It was traumatic and hard; however it only caused him to bury himself in a bottle even more. There was only so much we could do for Danny. We had been played down to the last card and in hopes all that seemed left was prayer.

As the months went by, what seemed like a nice fall afternoon turned out to be a struggle. I came inside to see my dad sitting there on the sofa with an expression I knew meant trouble. My dad mentioned that my mom had left for Atchison, Kansas but it wasn’t to spend time with her sisters or friends, it was to plan a funeral for my uncle. My uncle was found dead in his house from an assumed alcohol related problem.

It was hard to sit back and watch my mom deal with another family death but it was harder to think my uncle had wasted his life. I realize that people abuse life with drugs, alcohol, or gambling but it’s not just that. It doesn’t matter if you live in the biggest house, drive the nicest car, wear the most expensive clothes, have the coolest friends, make the best grades, play on varsity teams, get asked to all the dances, or even have a dysfunctional family. Life is a gift. And no matter how many struggles you face, the thoughts of dwelling on them are definitely a waste.