Opting for Optimism

Laura - Denver, Colorado
Entered on October 9, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: hope
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As I glided down the mountain trail on that scathingly hot day, I felt more powerful, more energetic than I usually do when I huff and puff in an effort to complete my run. What kept me driving forward during this parade of heat and acceleration were two basic components: oxygen and optimism. Oxygen is optimism in a simpler form, acting as a reviving substance, reminding us to breathe and take life in. As I increased and decreased in speed, I took in these long, wonderful breaths of air, and as my lungs expanded and constricted I felt indestructible. Just like one deep mouthful of optimism, oxygen is addicting because it makes you feel good just to be alive.

This feeling of satisfaction, along with endorphins, was a major improvement from my condition two months ago at the end of my ninth grade year. I faced the end of a long, magnificent journey, one that embodied my whole childhood and represented my growth in feet, pounds, and strength. The phase I’m talking about is middle school—ten years at the same school and it becomes a second family. To me, leaving my friends and my community was leaving behind an identity that was enclosed in that green and beige campus. Don’t get me wrong, I was excited to go to a new school, meet new people, and begin this part of adolescence. But on my ninth grade graduation day, the possibilities of new surroundings were blurred by both my tears and the reason for them: I was sad. As I slipped into the white dress I was so proud of when I bought, I couldn’t stop crying during what was supposed to be one of the highlights of my childhood; I felt helpless in my desolation.

And then I got over it.

Or rather, I’m getting over it. Because life is way too short, plain and simple. And after long periods of reflection, I have realized that just because I left my old school, it doesn’t mean my old school left me; it will be in my heart and memory forever. And as I ran feeling faster than ever on that day, this realization overwhelmed my glistening body, and glistened my soul.

I believe in the power of optimism. This faith enables me to understand that though life is fleeting and unpredictable, with the right outlook I can create value in my life and make it last a lifetime. Optimism is being happy with myself, with other people, and with life. Optimism is also not about being happy, but knowing I will be soon, and it’s looking forward to the good moments to come. Like oxygen, sometimes optimism comes automatically and naturally, while other times it’s hard to grasp and I start choking without it. In my opinion, optimism is what makes our lives the best they can be. And with that, I recommend that everyone try it out, because displaying optimism is the closest I have come to perfection.