This I Believe

Mark - Dedham, Massachusetts
Entered on June 9, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

Not many people agree on what’s most important in life. Money, power, love, fame, success… The list goes on. I, however, believe that all of those things are worthless without one very powerful thing; the ability to enjoy yourself. People spend a tremendous amount of time reaching for what they perceive as important. They sacrifice their whole lives and dedicate every second of their free time to studying, campaigning, or trying to rise in the company. The thing is, although they may end up making $200,000 a year, they’re letting life pass them by. In Cake’s “Sheep Go To Heaven”, John McCrea writes, “As soon as you’re born you start dying, so you might as well have a good time.”

I know people who go straight home after school every day and never leave the house on weekends so that they can study and keep their grades up; they want to get accepted into a good college and everything, and that’s definitely important, because obviously education is important. Without an education, I’d probably spend the rest of my life flipping burgers or sweeping floors for $20,000 a year. People who go to a prestigious college have an easier time getting a good job. That’s just how it works. But when you come down to it, high school and college are some of the best years of your life. It’s important to have a balance between padding your application with hours at the soup kitchen and actually going out and living your life.

I won’t be valedictorian, and I’m not going to be accepted into an Ivy League school. I probably won’t find myself on the cover of Time Magazine; chances of me curing cancer are slim to none. It’s not likely that I’ll host a talk show, and the Nobel Peace Prize will probably never have my name on it. But you know what? I’m fine with that. Life isn’t about getting by, or proving yourself to people you don’t know. To me, it’s not a competition. It’s something to be enjoyed, and in my opinion the meaning of life is recursive. The meaning of life is living. This I believe.