This I Believe

Mack - Indianola, Iowa
Entered on September 6, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

“ Who’s going to keep me honest now?” This is an anonymous quote torn from an old unknown magazine now aging on the refrigerator of our home. I have repeatedly encountered and questioned the meaning of this quote, from the day I could read to the present day, when I return home to grab the milk for my morning cereal. The answer has changed from a figure in my life to an ideology in a short twenty-two years in this world.

During childhood and much of my primary education, I believed I could answer this question by finding a person I admired and looked up to for guidance. Naturally, I found myself looking towards my parents and a teacher or new coach each year. Some naturally faded, but there are still the few I will always remember; as they have forever influenced the yellow brick road I choose to walk in life.

As I ended the high school days and began to mature, I questioned who will be this figure or role model the rest of my life? The people I had looked to for guidance obviously will not last forever. For the first time, I had to look in the mirror and take responsibility of what I will become. After I learned to accept this fact, I no longer lived each day simply by the expectations of my role models and societal norms. Much of the stress, boredom, and discontent in my life came to an abrupt halt. It was not that life’s tasks became easier, but I had found happiness within myself. I became true to myself.

For the first time I was no longer living in a shadow of expectation and could honestly tell others what I wanted in life, and how I was feeling. My friends and family noticed how much more outgoing and pleasant I was to be around. I felt much more confident in expressing my feelings and concerns. This made my relationships improve and become more fulfilling. Another change also occurred to me internally while these changes appeared on the surface.

I was suddenly able to go to class, work, and many other simple daily tasks, and ask myself, “Is this really what I enjoy or want to continue in life?” Many of my classes became more interesting while history and a night job became very much less appealing. All at the same time, I finally felt as though I was going somewhere in life. I had learned to dig out my innermost drive and self-reflect.

As I look to my future, I now see a bight one. I know no matter what it is or where I will be; I will find happiness. My relationships continue to grow and what I sign up to learn is enjoyable. I live life for today and not tomorrow or anyone else. I have truly grown and found happiness in my life by being honest with myself in every aspect of life. I, now, wake each day only to ask myself, “Am I ready to keep myself honest?”