This I Believe

Crystle - Norfolk, Virginia
Entered on April 11, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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Every Day

I remember like it was yesterday; the theatre seats were filled with smiling faces. I was surrounded by laughter and shrieks of joy. I had anticipated this day for nearly twelve years, and unable to believe how fast those years went by the day’s events seemed almost surreal. Seated there in my white cap and gown, I scanned the theatre. As I looked around at all the familiar faces of my classmates, I realized how genuinely happy everyone was to be there. It was as if in that moment, no one had a care in the world. I believe that we should live every day like it’s our high school graduation—a day filled with joy and hope as we forget all that’s happened in the past and welcome a fresh start for a new and exciting future.

The ceremony began and the theatre above our heads almost instantaneously filled with beach balls and endless amounts of silly string. Despite the faculty’s best efforts to end this disruption, they undoubtedly failed. No one was going to bring us down on that day, and no one was going to tell us we “can’t”. As the class valedictorian quoted Aristotle and the class clown quoted Dr. Seuss, my mind filled with wonder for all that I could accomplish. On that day I did not once look back at my life thus far with regret, for not making high honor roll or not applying to the National Honor Society. I did not dwell on all the things I wished I’d done, rather I looked to the future with excitement for college and hope for a successful life. I walked across that stage with a great sense of accomplishment and pride, realizing all my late nights of last minute projects and homework assignments in high school had finally paid off. As I shook the hands of my former teachers, their sincere smiles told me they felt the same way.

The ceremony ended and black and white caps, strewn with orange and black tassels, flew wildly into the air. I looked around once more at the ecstatic faces surrounding me—friends and enemies, teachers and students all brought together to share this same exciting milestone of life. Although our only commonalities were the classes we’d taken, people we knew, and the high school we attended, these were all we needed to enjoy ourselves together. For on that day all the grudges of high school drama were forgotten, nobody cared who stole whose boyfriend, who played football or who was in the band. It was almost as if when we walked across that stage we all grew up together. I realized how important it was to cherish that time with those around me; as after that day everyone would go their separate ways and lead their separate lives.

Yes, this was truly a happy day spent bonding with our friends and striving for our dreams. So why shouldn’t every day be spent with this same kind of joy? Every day we should make a fresh start. Every day we should treat the people around us, and those most important to us, with the same kind of appreciation. Every day we should continue to be hopeful and strive for our dreams, rather than continuously dwell on the past. Every day we should concentrate not on what might have been, but rather look forward to what will be.