This I Believe

Rebecca - Weston, Florida
Entered on March 14, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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I believe in living like tomorrow may never come. Cliché, I know, but it’s true.

I never considered myself to be old, especially since I’m only 16. Is that old? To some it is, but I never realized that many people actually do consider teenagers to be old. More specifically, I never realized how old teenagers appear to younger children.

Two years ago I was babysitting for three kids. The youngest was 3, the middle child 6, and the oldest 8. We were all having a good time: I did a puzzle with the youngest while the older two watched the Disney channel. Afterwards, we all played a game of “hide and seek. ” Then I told Morgan, the youngest, it was time for bed.

I helped her brush her teeth and get her pajamas on before tucking her into her “big girl” bed and reading her a Dr. Seuss book. After closing her closet door, getting her water in a sippy cup, and playing her music box, I was sure she would let me get her older siblings ready for bed. I was wrong. She was sitting up in her bed and suddenly asked me how old I was. I explained that I was 14 only to receive a gasp in response. To Morgan, I was old at 14. Immediately after, she looked at me sadly and asked, “Are you going to die soon? I don’t want you to die.”

I was shocked. No one had ever asked me that before and it scared me when I realized that I didn’t know the answer; that I couldn’t know the answer. I wasn’t about to describe what I was thinking to Morgan, so I assured her that I wasn’t going to die any time soon.

I still think about that night and how a three-year-old managed to ask me a question that I didn’t know the answer to. The truth is, I’ll never know what might happen. I could get into a car accident tomorrow or die of old age when I’m in my 90s. For now though, all I can do is try my best. I think of all the times I’ve said “I’ll do it tomorrow” and just how uncertain that phrase truly is. I worry that if I put something off, or forget to say, “I love you” or “goodbye,” I may never get that chance again. Small things like this can’t just be forgotten; someone has to remember them and someone has to live by embracing every moment to its fullest.

One day, when she’s old enough to understand, I’ll thank Morgan for helping me realize that you need to do whatever you can in the time you have. I find it funny that this short conversation, which this little girl has long forgotten, has had such an effect on the way I live my life. Because of Morgan, I believe in living like tomorrow may never come.