This I Believe

Joan - Houston, Texas
Entered on April 29, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

I believe that life is already planned out and that I am merely the character, not the writer.

As a young child, I grew up in a very economically cautious family. My parents were careful with how money was spent, but never failed to provide my brother and me with opportunities and education. However, in order to provide this enrichment for us, we often had to cut corners on some things. We lived in a small apartment and had one car which my dad drove to work each day. I still remember back when I was entering Kindergarten, my mom took my brother and me walking on the sidewalks along the street to find out about the different elementary schools in the area. We took several public buses, and walked miles just so that I could be provided with a good education. It was difficult not being able to live a luxurious life, but looking back; I realize that these small sacrifices paved a path for my future.

Being immigrants from China, my parents were extremely hardworking and strict when it came to academics. Sometimes they would tell me the sacrifices they made in order to come to the United States so that I would have a better opportunity in life. This usually happened if I did poorly on a test or report card. Back then, I remember being so annoyed with their constant nagging and wondered why they couldn’t be like my friend’s parents who were overjoyed at an “A.” As I mature, I realize that their nagging kept me in line and caused me to set high standards for myself.

Middle school was a tough time for me. I was constantly going through times where I just didn’t understand myself or life. There were many times were I couldn’t see my where my life was headed. This was frightening to me because ever since I was a child, I had always felt that I had everything planned out. Even if I messed up, my parents had my life mapped out for me. One night after a long day filled with disappointments, I just wanted to give up. Life wasn’t going right. At least, it wasn’t going the way I wanted. That night, I realized that I had no control over my future, only the choices I made now. From that night on, I try diligently to accept that fact and realize that I couldn’t control my life.

To me, life is like a staircase that I must climb. There are obstacles, but “anything that doesn’t kill you just makes you stronger.” I’ve given up on planning my life because the fact is that it’s already been planned. God has a plan for my life, and the people I encounter keep me along that path. This I believe.