This I Believe

Paul - State College, Pennsylvania
Entered on November 19, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: pleasure

I believe that enjoying life is what makes it worth living. This is hardly a philosophical revolution, but many people would be surprised by the frequency with which they violate this policy.

Life is what you make it, and, trivial as it might seem, I try to ensure that I have some fun with it. I believe that those who search for happiness are missing the point of it altogether. Toiling to achieve happiness is a contradiction in itself; although any worthwhile goal will demand sacrifices of its pursuer, I pity those who dig themselves into such drudgery that they lose sight of the enjoyment they are constantly eluding.

Where did I go to learn about the importance of fun? Cross country. To date, I have not yet managed to locate another group of people who are capable of having so much fun, even when faced with painful workouts and weather ranging from “Wait, why do shirts even exist” in August all the way up to “I don’t even care whether this hat makes me look like a rapper” in November. Like any useful cross country team, we run until our bodies fail, but when we’re not doing that we keep ourselves busy by inventing and executing outrageous escapades. I would love to describe these, but I am hindered by the 500 word limit (and also by certain FCC regulations).

In a competitive high school, losing touch with one’s life in favor of pursuing academics is not a difficult task. Many of my classmates will stop at nothing to get straight A’s for their high school careers, improving their chances of getting into a prestigious college. When I think about this, I can’t help but grimace (inwardly); if getting into college is the only aim of high school, and getting a job is the only aim of college, and getting another promotion is the only aim of a job, there is precious little life remaining outside of childhood and retirement. No doubt all of this work is essential to (financial) success, but allowing it to unconditionally take the helm is a tragic waste. No number of pools and Escalades will be able to buy back those wasted years. Influenced by consumer culture or not, it is always important to balance one’s aspirations with the sacrifices needed to achieve them.

No matter what life I lead, I hope that I will never forget to enjoy it.