This I Believe

ashley - beaverton, Oregon
Entered on September 21, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: change, death

Growing older has given me many different perspectives

on life. It’s given me respect for everything around

me, independence, and integrity. The hard times I’ve

gone through have taught me valuable lessons; my

mistakes, my lost dreams, unfinished goals, and

ignorant actions have made me the person I am today.

Although I’ve lived through harsh life lessons the one

moral I live by and believe in the most is not taking

life for granted.

When I was in sixth grade I entered my very own

“social bubble”, which means that my life was revolved

around my social activities. I cared more about my

friends, how people thought about me, TV, dances and

every other distraction, than I did about the

important things in life. In that “bubble”, I never

improved. I’d make the same mistakes over and over

again as if I had nothing to worry about. It only got

worse as I entered high school. I lived as if there

would always be a tomorrow. I would skip school, be

disrespectful to others – and even myself. I was

living but striving for nothing; because I was

ignorant about my future and how precious life is to

be throwing it away like I was.

I proceeded with my bad habits until a heartbreaking

event “popped” my “bubble”. It was the death of my six

year old cousin Omar that turned my life around. He

was hit by an SUV and killed instantly. Just like

that… He was gone. It was a very hard time for my

family; we went through a depression stage but grew

strong together. All of a sudden my life wasn’t

revolved around me anymore or “what happened last

weekend at that party”. It was a slap in the face for

me, but it’s unfortunate that I had to realize it from

the death of my close relative.

After the loss in my family, I started thinking about

my future and past, and how I wanted to change. The

thought that everyone’s life is temporarily given to

them is horrifying. The fact that it can be taken,

just like that, without a single clue. I regret the

poor choices I’ve made in the past, and after grieving

and thinking it through, I decided to turn my life

around, because I was taking my life for granted.

So here I am today, a year and a half later, proof

that people can dramatically change. I’m a completely

different person; determined and living life like

there won’t be a tomorrow. Giving thanks for everyday

I’m able to live, making goals, forgiving and

forgetting, learning from simple mistakes and avoiding

bad ones, looking outside of my “social bubble”,

trying things I’ve never done. Basically not taking

life for granted and taking the most out of it.