This I Believe

Benjamin - Bow Mar, Colorado
Entered on May 8, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
  • Top 100 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.
  • 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...

A Good Decision

He walks alone, sad and afraid. Once, he was happy, never filled with desolation. Once, he was the eagle amongst the crows, diving, swooping, and soaring above and beyond. Yet soon the crows began to harass him, for he was different. The eagle was not used to such niggling and began to grow weary. The crows doubled their attacks, found his weaknesses, and used both emotional and physical abuse to drive the eagle away. The eagle tried to fight back, but couldn’t; it was too late to hurt them. Filled with despair, heart and courage torn in two, the blond eagle with a bowl cut soared away, hoping to find a place where he belonged.

At a whopping eight years old (being all-knowing, or at least I thought so) I made a decision that the world was mean and I would never belong. Years of bullying had proved this to me, and years of bullying made me decide that there was nothing in the world worse than betrayal and hurt, not unhappiness, not depression, not death. Whether this decision was made consciously or subconsciously I truly don’t know, but what I do know is that that decision has altered my perception of life.

For many, it is easy to be happy and social; it is just who they are inside. I for one don’t think that smiling for an hour will make you happy, nor that life is fair; I am easily pleased but not easily contented. For me, or so I have thought, it was easier to be negative than happy, quiet instead of loud. Who can tease a person who never talks?

Yet this “irrevocable” decision I made has not served me well. I am not considered very funny, although I have a quick wit, my face and body language is constantly defensive and surly, and, of course, my sarcasm and constant criticism have not made me any friends. “You’re too negative,” I’ve been informed on more than one occasion, and my sister sometimes tells me I look like a surly, old bull after I get out of the rodeo ring!

Decisions are made to be unmade. The only way a person can be happy is when they are being themselves and doing something they want to do. If a decision stops you from doing that, then undo the decision and start over again. My decision that the world was cruel doesn’t fit me well now. So, I’ll try to undo it, and become the happy person I used to be. Many times these decisions can be changed with just a simple thought; I used to believe I was slow, until I made a decision to become fast… Within two months I became one of the quickest on my lacrosse team.

Even though you made a decision to major in English in college, do you have to go through with that? Does a decision to buy a red X-Terra mean that you cannot even think about buying an old VW bus that you actually like better? Does making a decision to wait in line for spicy steak salad at lunch mean you can’t go grab a sandwich instead?

For all of our sakes, I hope not.