This I Believe

Andy - Phoenix, Arizona
Entered on May 17, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in youth. When I find myself overwhelmed with work, I easily become stressed. Hour after hour of studying, day after day of preparation, and even years of my youth have been devoted to learning. Throughout high school, I always believed the sole purpose of education was to earn satisfactory grades. My parents urged me to keep up my studies, which I did – without question.

However, I forgot my purpose. Sure, I may have aced my spelling tests, received full points on a presentation, or made the Honor Roll, but what did it all mean? I forgot what it was like to have fun. Grades and success consumed my life, leaving no room for enjoyment, relaxation, or imagination.

It wasn’t until I visited a local daycare center that I realized my forgotten purpose. As I observed the children’s free-spirited behavior, I sensed a long lost memory. They danced, they sang, they laughed, and I felt a flicker of joy arise within me, emerging a smile across my face. Then, a little boy, running across the room, noticed me. His excited expression suddenly changed as he peered curiously at me through is bright brown eyes. He skipped on over and asked if I would play catch with him; astonished, I agreed.

As we tossed the battered tennis ball back and forth, I recalled memories of playing baseball at the park with my dad. We would spend hours upon hours working on my batting stance, or the secret to catching a fly ball. Day after day we practiced, and I continued to work hard, determined to succeed. Soon enough, I learned how to crack a line drive into left field, snag a deep fly ball, and even strike out my dad with a wicked curveball.

So, why did I keep trying? Why did I devote countless hours to simple game of baseball? Why did I persist in my efforts to improve? The answer stood ten feet away, holding a old tennis ball, grinning up at me. Now, I understood my purpose. Now, I understood the power of youth. I learned that youth escapes the mind during stressful times, especially with age. But I discovered that buried deep under precious memories was a recollection of my youth, desperately trying to express the child in me, bringing back a life full of energy, simplicity, and joy.