This I Believe

Lisa - LaGrange, Illinois
Entered on February 24, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe in appreciating what I have and not obsessing about the things that I don’t. I travel to Chicago very often, whether it’s with friends or family. One of the main things I do there is shopping. I used to see all the different items or clothes that I could buy, and got this want inside of me. I said things like “Oh I really want this sweater!” or “I just need this camera.” Almost all of the time, I did not leave the stores empty handed. On a past trip I got outside and it was freezing, but I had a warm coat so I was perfectly fine. I got into my car, the heat on high. I listened to my iPod and looked out the window.

Outside I saw a mom and her daughter sitting in front of a McDonald’s. They were sharing a coat and shivering close to each other. They had a can set out in front of them because all they wanted was money to buy some food. The can rested empty, though. There were plenty of people passing them by, but they just ignored them. The people that passed by thought that if they walk forward and don’t look at the homeless people, they don’t have to help them. These people that passed by go through life mainly thinking of themselves.

After seeing this scene, an extreme guilt filled me. I was in a car with my family. I was warm. My stomach was full. I just got new clothes. I was listening to my iPod. I am extremely fortunate to have these things and I got upset with myself that I bought even more things that are not necessary.

There are people in the world that do not have a life like I do; theirs is much harder. For them, surviving each day is a great accomplishment. I believe that if I can appreciate what I have, I will be able to live life better. Now, I minimize on buying things solely on what I want. I just remember that I already have the things that I need to live a very comfortable life and I do not need much else. As for right now I can’t directly help these people. The best thing I can do is to remain satisfied with what I have and not gripe over the things that I want.