This I Believe

Mara - Phoenix, Arizona
Entered on September 26, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: pleasure
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I believe no one under the age of 25, unless that person has a life-threatening disease or suffers from a severe disability, should be able to sit in first class on an airplane.

As I have listened to the series “This I Believe” over the last couple of years, I have been struck by how hard it has been for me to come up with something I really, truly believe. Sure, there are those immediate first thoughts that dash around your cranium:

I believe in perseverance. I believe in freedom. But inevitably doubts arise. Sure, perseverance has its place, but always? In every circumstance? What about that expression, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me? Isn’t that a counter argument to that belief?” You get the idea.

No, what I really like about this series is that it forces you to consider the hard facts, principles, truths that you do not waffle over. There aren’t a lot of them.

But this past summer, my “ah-ha” moment arrived. I had the chance to upgrade to first class on a flight home from Minnesota. As I did, I pictured all the times I had seen 50 plus year old men and women squeezing themselves into torturously small coach seats while a young, lithe teenager practically swam in a first class seat.

First class did not disappoint. The leg room was amazing. I could actually cross one femur bone over the other- what a unique concept! A flight attendant constantly inquired if I wished to enjoy a beverage- whether soda or glass of wine. And best of all, I could board whenever I wanted so that I did not end up holding my rollie, which I had dragged all over the airport, listening to one of those same attendants say, “All overhead space is full, please prepare to check your luggage.”

As I de-boarded the plane, I pondered on why I enjoyed the experience so much. Was it all the perks? No. Actually it was in being able to compare it to coach. I have sat in plenty of roomy chairs in my life, and many waiters have asked if I would like an adult beverage, but it was being able to consciously smell and taste and knowcoach that made first class truly sweet.

And so it is in life. Happiness is in the appreciation. And appreciation almost comes with experience. And age means experience. Experience should count for something. If nothing else, it brings some level of appreciation. Maybe an elderly person given the opportunity to fly first class all the time would start to take it for granted, but at least they earned it by living for more than 25 years.

Perhaps this essay seems shallow to you. Perhaps not. Either way, it does not matter. Because it is something I truly believe. And if you are over 25, here’s to hoping I run the world some day. Get ready for some first class treatment.