Life is What You Make of it

Lauren - Groton, Massachusetts
Entered on May 1, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: carpe diem

As far back as I can remember, I was always thinking ahead. I was that kid that planned her life out at the age of twelve. I was the one who, the minute she stepped through the doors of high school, had already scheduled out her next four years of classes and had begun looking into college requirements. I felt the need to organize my life to the “T”. I tried my absolute hardest in school, not because I wanted to impress my parents or to be at the top of my class, but mostly because I knew that if I did well, my life would go according to my plan. Any free second I had was spent making sure that by the time I was 23, I would be out of school, free of debt, with a good job, and making a life for myself. This, of course, is the brief version. What I didn’t realize was that life does not always go according to such plans.

During my sophomore year of high school, my twelve year old brother was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. It threw my whole family for a loop. Over the next few years, we spent time in the hospital with him, saw him pulled out of school for insane amounts of doctors visits, and saw the process that one had to go through to even get their prescriptions on time. Yet, despite the obvious setbacks of the disease, my brother still remained strong. He still had a smile on his face more times than I did and he still did his absolute best to live his life as any normal kid would.

It has now been four years since those hospital visits but I still clearly remember them. The first time I visited him, I was uncomfortable and upset seeing him hooked up to the IV. The whole day though, I watched him joke around and try to make light of his situation. He would laugh about the hospital food and how, contrary to popular belief, it really wasn’t too bad. It was at this point that I realized that life wasn’t about having a plan. Instead, it is about how you handle the cards you are dealt. It was about making the best of any situation and living your life to its fullest. Cliche as these beliefs may be, my brother made me realize that it isn’t WHAT happens to you, its HOW you deal with it. Because of my brother, I believe that life is truly what you make of it.