This I Believe

Safia - Manlius, New York
Entered on December 18, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in a balance between give and take. The very foundation of our lives has always been to take give time and take experience. I too have set my life in stone – given time and taken experience. Beyond this fundamental exchange, I have given and taken so much more.

I have learned to give stubbornness and take satisfaction. When I moved to a new home, I was forced to change schools as well. I couldn’t relate to any of the students, and I would aimlessly wander the halls alone. I was accustomed to my old school, a tiny Roman Catholic academy, where I had been secure and confident with friends, teachers, and parents alike. After moving, I often complained to my mother, relating my many dissatisfactions and grievances with Manlius. I was tired of not being accepted and not knowing how to conform. My mother told me that I didn’t have to conform; if I made an effort to make friends on my own terms and focus on why Manlius is okay, I might even find it tolerable. It’s been a few years now and I have grown resentfully fond of this town. I have let the slow passing of time weather my stubbornness, and in turn received contentment I had not thought possible.

I have learned to give fear and take adventure. I’ve always had a fondness for stability, and to change is to leave my crutches behind. Before last summer, I’d never traveled alone, but because of a rash decision and the inability to take it back, I found myself en route to Spain. I was friendless, family-less, and seemingly purposeless. I was afraid to put myself out there, to push forward and invest in a new life. But I took the chance as an opportunity and let myself become whoever I wanted to be. With the vague vision of journey, camaraderie, and self-confidence, I found myself brimming with those very qualities.

I have learned to give tradition and take spontaneity. Every Friday night, my best friends and I would pass the time at the local coffeehouse wildly gossiping, taste-testing exotic drinks, and flattering ourselves by means of a camera. This carried on for over a year until its unfortunate close. My friends and I immediately turned to somewhere else to feed our Friday night addiction, however it wasn’t as simple to replace. We were forced immediate withdrawal and all turned to different activities on Friday nights, not always together. It’s refreshing to have more opportunities and switch between people and places. With the newfound spontaneity, I was able to accommodate more and different people and have more fun in the process.

I have given everything I could and gotten so much in return. For better or for worse, these subtle changes continue to transform how I think, feel, and act. Give and take, give and take. Give stubbornness, take satisfaction. Give fear, take adventure. Give tradition, take spontaneity. I have given all and taken all in return.