This I Believe

Laura - Newtown, Pennsylvania
Entered on April 21, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: carpe diem, death
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“As long as you stay young at heart you can never grow old.”

I’m not sure whether I heard this quote somewhere and committed it to memory or if one day writing in my journal I made it up. Regardless, it’s a phrase I believe in and like to live by.

I didn’t always live by this phrase. Somewhere in the awkwardness of middle school and pressure of high school I strayed from it; during the time when you did everything to grow up and not been seen as child any more. It wasn’t until a June day in 2002 that I rediscovered the meaning of truly living my life.

It was our senior week, a time when we celebrated our graduation by partying down the Jersey shore for a week. During the week, my friend Carly had to go home for a day or two. While at home she got in a bad car accident and died. It was hard to be a teenager who like everyone else thought I was invisible and so were my friends.

Something Carly’s dad said to us really hit home that day. He said: “I always wondered why Carly was in such a rush to do everything and now I finally know why. I’m happy she lived her life that way because although it was short she did everything she ever wanted.” That saying stuck in my head and forever changed my outlook on life. I realized that I would never remember the grade I got on my Calculus test but rather the spontaneity of life and the memories I’ve made with the people who mean most to me.

Life suddenly became about the little things again…about the curiosity and spirit of being a child. It’s the things like the sound of the rain, the smells and sounds of the Jersey shore boardwalks, the way the lightening lights up the sky, and the feeling you get when you jump in a pool for the first time. It’s about asking questions no matter how silly they may seem. The questions like why is the sky blue?

I realized it wasn’t about planning every aspect of my life but by enjoying each moment and letting things happen. It’s about taking chances and doing things that scare you. My mom always tells me that I “fly by the seat of my pants” and every time she says that to me I can’t help but smile. It leaves me open to do anything I want. To see an opportunity and take it.

I now write a list of things I want to do in my life. Unique things like go on an African safari, see the northern lights, and see the wonders of the world. And every time I open my journal to add to the list I see the quote I love to live by. And every time I read that quote it makes me want to run outside and dance in the rain.