The Little Things

Jessica - Tucson, Arizona
Entered on September 10, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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I believe in the power of appreciating the little things in life. I believe in the power of living in the present and enjoying what you’re given. I believe in the power of allowing yourself to fully experience every bit of happiness you’re presented with. I believe that the only way to get through rough times and challenges is by living this way.

I haven’t always held this belief. This lesson was taught to me, and is still being taught to me, by a wonderful group of students in an adaptive PE class. I am in my second semester of being an Adaptive PE Mentor. I help students that are not capable of or comfortable with being in a regular PE class. These kids all have mental disabilities, physical disabilities, or some combination of the two. They face challenges each and every day. They face ridicule from cruel teenagers at school. Many are placed in regular high school classes with teachers that are unfamiliar with their disabilities or that don’t have the patience for them. Many of them have trouble doing every day things that we take for granted. Despite everything they face, they keep going. They persevere. They do this by appreciating what they are given. They appreciate each happy moment as it comes.

One student from last semester stands out in my mind as the embodiment of this lesson. Due to his disability, he has seizures. At any moment, he can have a seizure, during which he falls to the ground and often injures himself. With every seizure, he loses about a week of memory. Last year, he went through a period of time when he was having a seizure almost daily. These were extremely serious seizures that could have killed him. The teachers and the mentors were constantly on guard, making sure he didn’t walk somewhere alone or stand near hard objects that he could fall on.

During that period of time, I sometimes had trouble enjoying the class because I was so consumed with worry. But he never did. He always came to class excited and ready to work hard at whatever we were doing. He loved the class. He would talk and laugh with his friends in and outside of the PE class. He went bowling with friends and was really excited when he went to his first sleepover. Despite the constant, looming threat of a seizure, he was always happy when he could be. He enjoyed the happiness that was presented to him. He appreciated the little things. He didn’t think about the seizure that he might have later or the seizure that he had had yesterday.

I believe that this is how he keeps going. This is how he gets through the rough times. This is how he gets through life. Knowing him has changed my outlook on life. I am now confident that by appreciating the little things in life, everyone can get through even the hardest of times.

This I believe.