This I Believe

Mathew - Fayetteville, New York
Entered on December 19, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: change
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“Embrace change, and enlighten oneself…”

I believe that one should be ready, aware, and prepared for change. This belief came to me after I was dragged kicking and screaming half way across the world. From India to England to America, my family and I traveled, because my parents had grand visions of the future. I dimly remember my childhood days, growing up in the hot and humid state of Kerala, my mind on a narrow path, blissfully ignorant of the great world outside. At age six, I was torn from my cozy shell, and transplanted to a cold unwelcoming country, England. I remember standing there, surrounded by the concrete slabs and radar towers of Heathrow Airport, staring into the starless sky, confused and lost. Obviously, I recovered. How I could have not? How could I have sat there and sank into homesick depression? I could not lament the past, and abandon the future, I could not mourn the closing of some paths for my life, and ignore the new possibilities. To do so would have been forfeiting the game, abandoning all chance of survival.

This dilemma repeated several times during my five years in England, bouncing from place to place, Ashton-Under-Lyne, Sheffield, Grimsby, Torquay, and on and on. My roots were ripped painfully from the soil, again, and again, until I learned. Never tie yourself down to some patch of soil, and some state of mind. Be loyal, yet do not let loyalty disable your ability to move on to greater things. I would not have said as much at the time, but every change in my life has opened more doors than they closed, because I accepted each of them, and adapted to each new way.

Become too comfortable in your position, and you lose the ability to adapt, to flow with change rather than futilely attempt to resist it, and abandon the prospect of greater things. When I learned I was to move from a small coastal town in England to America, that dark land over a wide ocean, I was comfortable. I had been accepted to a prestigious grammar school, and had the letter in my hand when the ultimatum was delivered. My emphatic protests came to nothing, and the change happened anyway. It was for the better, now that Britain has altered its policies regarding foreign medical graduates, to give doctors from the European Union top priority. Who knows, perhaps I would have succeeded back there, but why ponder that? Why dwell upon the road not taken? Each change has only widened my view of the world, and the challenges built me as I am today, and I would have it no other way.

This new millennium is at the brink of change, a historical turning point as the world’s center of power shifts, and new leaders rise and old ones fall. The one constant in human history is change, change that alters the very foundations of civilization. Change that happens within lifetimes, within single years, change that I will see. It will be for me what I make of it. I, personally, will ride it, let it carry me onwards and away. I will not become the lone twig in a torrent of change, splintering before its force.