Life Is Exactly What You Make It

Mallory - Salt Lake City, Utah
Entered on May 24, 2005
Age Group: 18 - 30
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When I first heard the word “mediocre,” my mom used it to describe her career as an oboist in the school orchestra. “I was mediocre,” she said, “not bad but not passionate.” I liked the word because it sounded like tapioca pudding or that vegetable they serve down south, but mostly I liked it because it sounded like me. Life wasn’t bad, but I wasn’t passionate about anything. I remember thinking to myself that it was too bad I was only mediocre at life because if I were passionate about something I might do some real good. But mediocre people never change the world. This was my philosophy for most of my growing up. People who were born in average homes, to average families had no need or hope of living anything more than an average, mediocre life. I enjoyed being mediocre. Until last month.

I went to my brother’s Jr. High orchestra concert and in between the two nice but rather average orchestras, one girl preformed Mendelssohn’s Concerto in E Minor. I am a very mediocre musician, but I know what good music sounds like and I sat quietly, listening, completely entranced by this amazing musician. She was only in ninth grade, but already she was far ahead of most musicians my age. She stood in front of the auditorium, only half-filled with parents and young children, as if she were playing in Carnegie Hall. She had such a presence and played with such joy that when she finished the final crescendo, I stood and applauded not only her masterful performance but her passion for music.

“What kind of thoughts,” I asked turning to my friend “run around in her head, because her brain obviously doesn’t work like mine.” As soon as I said it, I realized how stupid it sounded. Of course her brain worked like mine; talented or not, we both were human beings. We both entered the world unable to speak or walk or change the world. We were perhaps raised in very different homes with different opportunities, but each day we both woke up on Mother Earth with the same choice—we each had to choose how we would change our world.

I no longer choose to live a mediocre life. I have yet to sing on Broadway or change any national laws, but I choose to live life with passion. Every morning when I wake up, it’s like being born all over again; I am an equal with every person, I have no reputation to uphold, no past to weigh me down. But if I use my first breath to curse yesterday, then I am choosing to live a mediocre life. Instead, I am passionate about living every new moment. Passion is not given, like a fairy’s blessings, to baby princesses and future Olympiads. It’s chosen by young violinists and mediocre girls like me.