When I was 13 I made a choice that landed me in jail for six months with an indefinite probation sentence. I write this paper not to plead my case; I take full responsibility for my choices that I made in the past. I write this paper not to show off that I have served time, I take no pride in knowing that I am a convicted felon. I write this paper to- hopefully- convey to a listener, somewhere, maybe only one or two- maybe a listener that is going through some of the same things that I have struggled through; the message that you can control your outlook on life by thinking of only the good things in life and not focusing on the bad things.
When I first arrived in jail, I kept feeling like this was the end, that my life wouldn’t amount to much more than a man making minimum wage flipping burgers at McDonald’s- no one would want a felon with my charges on the payroll. I spent an entire two months of my life moping around with this mindset. It was one day in another one of my unwanted therapy sessions in my third month there that something really hit me- the thought that you can control your attitude by focusing on only the good things of life- for life (even in a limited degree) it was- and not dwelling on the past. This mindset intrigued me from the first time I heard it. I had to try; to get myself out of the figurative ditch that I had dug myself gave renewed hope for me.
I started to look at the good things in life. One would think me a king, what with all the good things to say about life- even in jail. I admired all the uninterrupted education that I enjoyed, the seldom time that we were allowed in the yard I cherished, the visitation on the weekends with my mother and father I anticipated. I looked forward to every new day of life that I had, the roof over my head, the food that I was served on the plastic trays that we enjoyed the privilege of eating from. I enjoyed the stimulating intellectual conversation- to which I made my fair share of points- with the guards and inmates. The almost constant strategic battles of chess and the mighty tournaments of Scrabble we played, seemingly, without an end; the small- but full- library that we could choose our next adventure to take us away from the world into a fantasy world where we could do or be anyone or anything when where or why we want.
I found God in that jail. I realized that God had put it in the mind of my counselor to convey to me- a wayward soul- that I needed to step up, be an example, and not lose hope. God is who inspired me to be all that I can be and to help everyone I can by being a fun person to be around, to help whoever needs me, and to give 100% to boost people up. I guess in conclusion the message that I am trying to convey in this paper is the belief that one can control ones attitude by focusing on the positive things in life and not dwelling on past mistakes that you have made. The only way forward is forward. This I believe.
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