The Balance of Life

Eric - La Mesa, California
Entered on February 18, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe that life is fair. Now hear me out, because I know that much of my audience is going to dismiss me as a naïve idealist immediately after that first sentence.

I am aware that some people are rich and some are poor and so forth, and I am not going to make the assertion that if someone is not successful, then it’s their fault. No, I believe that God designed life so that it is completely balanced and truly offers everyone equal opportunity. There’s a specific reason that life gives you lemons and not something useless. It wants you to make lemonade; you just have to find the sugar.

I have experienced this firsthand. My chosen career has always been some form of storyteller, and this aspiration has recently narrowed to the field of film directing. However, in eighth grade, I was inflicted with a debilitating mental disease: obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD. The slightest, most innocuous thing can cause me agonizing anxiety now, and at one point it reached such intensity that I was unable to put my clothes and shoes on without help. While the problem is no longer anywhere near that severe, my OCD is by no means gone, and I struggle with it every day, even while I am writing this essay.

However, with this obstacle came something positive. I was forced to look at how my own mind worked, to understand how I really felt and why. With professional help, I studied my own mind, and I discovered truths about myself that I had never considered before. Now I have a deeper and clearer understanding of myself than I ever thought possible. Thus began a natural progression. Because I could now study my own mind, I began to see similarities in other people’s actions and the thought processes beneath. I was able to empathize with others’ emotions and intentions; to see things clearly from their point of view.

This ability translates beautifully into the world of storytelling. A story is nothing without its characters, and its characters are nothing without believable personalities. In order to tell a good story, your characters need realistic emotions, motivations, and personalities. With my newfound knowledge, I find that I can make characters that are deeper and more realistic than ever before. I can really think about what they would do in certain situations, about how they would perceive certain events. I feel that I am truly lucky to have discovered this knowledge.

This balance of life applies to many situations. If one is poor or unsuccessful, they have the opportunity to be much more self-reliant, practical, and understanding. If one is rich or otherwise successful, they tend to need work on those personal qualities, on really knowing their role in a world larger than themselves. In this way, being financially privileged can make one destitute in other areas if they are not careful. Indeed, one might consider wealth a hindrance in some ways.

I believe that God specifically designs every obstacle to bring out a quality in ourselves that will enrich our lives. No matter what problems we may face, we should take comfort in the knowledge that there is always a solution and that there is always a way to use that situation to improve your life immeasurably, if you will only seize the opportunity.