This I Believe

Theo - Piedmont, California
Entered on June 13, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
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My family owns a cabin in a remote area in the foot hills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Along the dirt road up to our cabin, one of the other homes has dozens of signs outside the lot with single letter stickers on poster boards spelling out warnings such as, “This isn’t a highway, drive 10,” “Speed limit 10, dust kills AC unit,” or “10 mph, your house will still be there when you get back.” A pair of signs even had the speed listed as “10 mpo,” as if the owner didn’t know how to spell hour. I talked with a few of the other neighbors in the area about it and they all said they thought she (the owner of the other lot) was crazy, citing several other eccentric things she had done in the past. On one occasion, when driving back from a days worth of activities, I got the privilege of seeing her out in her garden working with her plants. I had seen her on a few other occasions before this, out in her yard looking disgusted at some birds, or working on her signs, and each time she had lived up to my first impression of her as being bizarre. This time, however, she seemed different. She was out in her garden doing something she loved. She seemed at one with her plants. She seemed like someone I could understand. She even reminded me of my own Grandmother. In that moment I had forgotten all that I had previously thought about her, and seeing her doing something she loved, she seemed like a good, understandable person. Afterwards, I still believe she is odd and eccentric, of course, but from that moment I gathered that if you want to come off well in life, be what you love, not the opposite of what you hate. If you hate people who are mean, it is not enough simply to be not mean yourself, then you come off as careless, you should be nice, caring, loving, and in that you appear as a good person. Another example would be if you hate the idea of organized religion, people who simply speak out against it seem cruel-hearted and mean, while people who devote their life to science and making discoveries for the world come off well.