This I Believe

James - Tenafly, New Jersey
Entered on December 9, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: creativity
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“Even Acrobats Need Breaks”

As a sophomore in high school, I feel like an acrobat painfully going along a thin rope across a bottomless pit, given no help other than a lousy stick. When my legs shake, my trembling hands squeeze even more into the stick, as I struggle to keep my balance.

Yet, I cannot complain, because I am not alone. Others also try not to fall by maintaining their balance, and some fail and some don’t. On some days, I feel that I will fall off the rope if I go any further. So, on my ride o school, I restrain myself from reciting facts and figures for a test; rather, I allow myself to gaze into the constant, serene sky. While my eyes are closed, the winds swirl in and out of the car; it is almost as if I am flying. I am free. For a brief five minutes, I am no longer confined to the thought of college, but rather lost in a sky that offers me the luxury of flying and the freedom to move wherever I want to.

Or maybe music also offers the same pleasures. On many occasions when I am sleep-deprived, I collapse onto the table during lunch, with some headphones on my ears. After listening to the Dave Matthew’s Band, the Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel, I eventually arrive at Andrea Bocelli’s famous Neapolitan song, “O Sole Mio.” He invites me to a warm day in Tuscany, where the sunlight touches the rolling hills and mountains. In the mountains am I riding a bike down the slope, with the rest of the Apennines behind me. The range’s creamy peaks are still visible once I reach the bottom.

Many cannot indulge themselves in these experiences, as they almost never fall into the sky or bike down the Apennines, because of obligations. I also still struggle to dutifully fulfill my job as a student. So I fight to stay on the thin rope above the dark, bottomless pit, and I will finish the other half of the rope that remains. I believe that I can pause and sit on the rope once in a while, thus noticing what I have missed, such as the changes in the leaves, while I was so busy balancing my life. Even the most experienced acrobats will fall anyway if they don’t take any breaks.