This I Believe

Kylie - Olathe, Kansas
Entered on October 24, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

Embracing Today

Most people will tell you to hold onto the moments in life that make you smile, to carry them with you throughout your life. I say to do the opposite, let go of those happy memories and live in the present. I believe that holding onto memories will only leave you will a feeling of dissatisfaction.

One of my favorite memories is from one of the saddest times of my life. In this memory, I remember all of my family, everyone I loved, sitting around a giant table, joking and laughing, just enjoying each other’s presence. We were celebrating my grandparent’s 50th wedding anniversary just days after my great grandmother had passed away from a stroke. Despite a death, we had all managed to come together and live and share a moment of great joy and triumph. I remember sitting there in the glow of everyone else’s happiness and wishing that I could capture this moment and bask in it forever.

After that, things got difficult, and I retreated into my own enclosure of happiness. Whenever things got difficult, I disappeared into that night of happiness and blocked the pain from penetrating. When both of my grandparents announced that they had been diagnosed with cancer, my first reaction was disbelief and denial. How could the same people that had just been healthy and laughing suddenly be sick and dying? It didn’t seem possible, so I didn’t allow myself to believe it. This was how I lived my life, always stuck in the past and not letting myself experience the present, because I was too afraid of the hurt that each day would bring with it. I would hold onto happy memories, because those seemed to be the only things that wouldn’t let me down. I was holding on to the past to make myself happier, but it was doing just the opposite.

It took over a year for me to gain the sense to change my attitude of melancholy. With some perspective, I decided to reflect one last time o find out where I had gone wrong. I remembered all the way back to my grandparent’s 50th wedding anniversary, and it came to me. I was going at in the wrong direction altogether. I should have taken a lesson from the ones I loved most. Instead of dwelling on what wasn’t the same in my life and what I couldn’t change, like the death of a loved one, I should focus on the positives. With this revelation came a complete lifestyle change.

Now, I can’t imagine not wanting to experience every day to the fullest. Now, each morning I wake up with the expectation of meeting a new challenge. Every day is fresh and exciting. I don’t waste my time dwelling in the past anymore, because it has nothing for me. I choose to live in what I know now and trust that that will be enough to keep me happy.