I believe in learning from your mistakes. If everything happens for a reason, then what is that reason? Learning from your mistakes makes you become a better person. The events of your past make you who you are today. It took traveling all the way across the United States to the east coast for me to ultimately understand this. Although it was hard for me to comprehend at the time, there was a purpose for this.
Earlier that same year she had transferred to my school where she didn’t know many other people, so we began hanging out together more often. Her morals weren’t the same as mine, in fact they were quite different, but I accepted that difference for some reason. I should have realized that a 13 year old, dating a 19 year old and on birth control, had some issues, I made myself believe that it was “normal”. I was at the age when friendships defined popularity status. I wanted so badly to fit in and feel accepted that I befriended the wrong people. I witnessed things that no eighth grader should be exposed to. I watched as people we knew were arrested, convicted and locked up for their wrongful actions. I watched as another girl debated about having the baby she was pregnant with, and then decide to abort that baby. I watched as the people around me made poor decision after poor decision that led them nowhere. If I had continued to hang out with her them I can only imagine what my life would be like today. The ending of my friendship with this girl was better for me than I could have imagined.
As I look back on how much our lives have changed over the last five years I can truthfully say my past has made me who I am today. Last I heard of her she now smokes, has multiple tattoos, and had a miscarriage in the bathroom of her beauty school. I know now that the immediate satisfaction of stupid, impulsive, immoral choices does not compare with the long term satisfaction of sensible, level headed decisions. The experiences I have had with quality people are far better than what I would have had if I continued to associate with the wrong people.
I am where I am today because of what I have learned in my past. The mistakes I made taught me valuable lessons that I will continue to live by. If you make the same mistakes repeatedly then you won’t make it anywhere. Like my fifth grade teacher always used to say, “Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.” As long as you can learn something from the mistakes you make then they are not a complete waste. Everything happens for a reason and that is why I believe in learning all that you can from your mistakes.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.