This I Believe

Kristina - Nashua, New Hampshire
Entered on May 13, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe in the simple pleasures of life. I believe in the moments like sitting in your grandmother’s living room: the dim lights, the softly humming television, or the smell of food cooking on the stove. Over in the corner grandma is dusting off the pictures that line the faint, yellow walls. There are pictures of every son and daughter, every grandchild, and that silly time with the family on the beach. I believe in these moments, so pure and untainted. I believe in a simple life.

There was always one picture in particular that I would find myself staring at, trying to place myself in that moment. It was a black and white picture of my grandmother in her youth, sitting on her front steps among her siblings and neighborhood friends. Each face was lit with a beaming smile and signs of laughter and content. It was the perfect picture, really, one I always wish I was in.

As I sat there looking at the candid moment, I began to smell the fresh air and the birds chirping from the tree tops. Inside, the adults were chatting over a cup of coffee, as the children rolled and giggled in the front yard. The simplest of games made them happy; they did not have any game boys or computers, but instead they had a ball, a jump rope or two, and their imagination. For hours they would play, until it was too dark to see each other’s faces.

At this moment, I felt a great deal of jealousy as I watched them. I yearend to find pleasure in playing with the children around the block- running around on a hot summer’s day, or a cool night. I would love to see what it was like to sit among the living room with my family at night for a good conversation, rather than be separated by the computer or blaring T.V. Or wake up on a Sunday morning to go to church and come home to a full day of chores, and not feel the need to complain once.

Yes, I would love to live in a time like this. Where candy was a penny and where walking was the best mode of transportation, even if it was a mile uphill to get to school both ways. I would love to feel the pleasure of lighting a candle to guide me through the night, rather than hitting a switch that we so often take for granted. Or the joy that came with baking a cake, instead of buying it from the store.

It is a shame that families often times do not even eat dinner together anymore. Or that we go out and buy the most expensive cars, houses, and clothes, but for what? At the end of the night we simply settle in, only to wake up the next day to mechanically live life that was once such a precious treat. What ever happened to sitting out on the front porch chatting with neighbors, or playing fetch with your dog, Spot? Now, I am no longer in the picture, but back on my grandmother’s couch, yearning to leap in to the “old days”. It frightens me to think what my children will be saying when they look at my old pictures. Will the things of the present seem so simple and pure to them? I truly hope not.

As my grandmother walks back into the room, I look up at her and in her face I can see her story. I can see the years she has trudged through, but most of all I can still see that youthful face in the picture. She sits down next to me, handing me a cup of freshly squeezed lemonade and a warm cookie. It is at this moment I realize that money can not buy smiles and no credit card can be swiped for a good time. If we could shut down our computers for a day, turn off our cell phones, and toss aside the keys to our cars, do you think we could handle it? I believe in a simple life.