The environment, I was raised in, plays a large role to the life I live. The places I have traveled to have taught me to be more appreciative to the things I have now. Being outside of the United States and experiencing firsthand the difficulties others face gave me a whole new perspective on life, rather than watching the news on television. Traveling to many different areas of the world has filled me with the knowledge that makes me understand how lucky I am to have the life I am given.
When traveling to Burma with my family, I realized that my life really isn’t as bad I thought. Arriving at the border, I experienced a sense of both pity and fear. On the side of the road were people begging for food and money. At the outdoor shopping market, young children at the age of six or seven were carrying their baby brothers/sisters asking for money. Some children would carry heavy trays of toys, on their backs, trying to sell them to earn money. Some desperate ones take the money from your pockets or bags and run away. Another sad aspect was the clothes the children wore. The lucky ones wore torn dirty shirts and pants, others wore only shirts or only pants, and some wore nothing at all.
On the streets on Bangkok, Thailand, I witnessed something that I will never forget. There was a man crawling on the side road with no legs and one arm. He was carrying a small cup begging for money. Although I stopped observe him, the people around me walked past him as if they didn’t even notice the man. It is a pitiful site when people nowadays care for no one but themselves.
I believe that accepting your past requires courage. It takes courage to admit mistakes and keep moving forward, no matter how difficult the circumstances are because everything that happens in the past will affect the future sooner or later. If I hadn’t gone overseas, my viewpoint on life would be different. Visiting Thailand and Burma taught me that the world is full of unfortunate situations that are unavoidable. Everyone will face, at some point, hardships that they must overcome and learn from. I’ve become stronger, more outspoken, and truthful when it comes to dealing with rough dilemmas that have occurred in the past. What knowledge I’ve gained from my past determines who I am today.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.