This I Believe

Amber - Schiller Park, Illinois
Entered on May 27, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: gratitude
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Embrace Each Day

“Life only lasts so long.” This is a phrase I hear often, but until recently, I have never stopped to truly comprehend its meaning. No matter what we encounter during our limited time on earth, from moments of irrepressible joy to tragedies that test our souls, we must make the most of what we are given. Yet many people don’t bother to seek the brighter side of life. I, on the other hand, believe in seeing the good in every day.

Not long ago, this belief really started to take root in me. It occurred one day in the middle of the school week when I’d least expected it. During ninth period, a friend of mine took her seat behind me, sporting a grim look on her face.

“Hey Anna, what’s wrong?” I asked.

“Corinne’s in the hospital,” she reported solemnly.

Her words seemed so surreal that at first I almost didn’t believe her. Of course she didn’t mean our sweet, fun-loving badminton teammate I had seen playing vigorously just days before. “What happened to her?” I inquired anxiously.

“I heard from a teacher that she has a blood clot,” replied Anna in a monotonous tone, “but he doesn’t really know for sure.”

“Oh my God,” I exclaimed in shock. “That’s terrible.”

The whole situation struck me as impossible. Obviously, I knew that teenagers can suffer injuries, but never anyone I knew – not any of my friends. One day I had seen Corinne leaping around the badminton court with expert timing, and the next, I’d heard that she had been admitted to the hospital for something serious. This opened my eyes to seeing that life can change in an instant, so everyone must appreciate the good things in each day while he or she can.

Everyone experiences “bad days”, but even during those stressful times, good moments reside as well. Focusing on these positive aspects of our lives forces us to appreciate what we have and make life more enjoyable.

For example, when several of my friends and I visited Corinne in the hospital, I felt stressed by the massive homework load burdening me for the weekend. However, seeing Corinne lying on her hospital bed, wires inserted throughout her arms, instantly eliminated my personal worries. I realized there will always be someone suffering more than me. Even poor Corinne, although clearly enduring a terrible ordeal, had it better than many others in the world, such as the thousands of children dying each day in Africa. If we put our lives into a global perspective, it’s easier to identify the positive things we have. We all should realize just how good those things are and not take them for granted.

I’ve found that living by this principle provides a more pleasurable life. It prevents self-induced misery and creates positive, optimistic individuals. By seeing the good things in each day, everyone’s life can substantially improve.