This I Believe

Sam - Granville, Ohio
Entered on November 13, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: carpe diem
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe in spontaneous experiences. Spontaneous experiences enrich and provide a backdrop for an enlightened perspective. After moving to rural Virginia, the importance of spontaneity became evident to me from the start. I realized that following a strict format for social interaction based on previous experiences after moving schools was not going to get me through what appeared to be a rough couple of years ahead. Initially, I believed I could make it through by immersing myself in school work and finding fairly structured social activities to get involved in. However, I learned fairly quickly that the No Child Left Behind train had come to town to stay and placed limitations on anything and everything relevant that could be discussed in a classroom. Additionally, the structured social activities came in the form of youth groups and boy scouts, two things I wanted to stay far away from.

Instead, my learning and socializing occurred outside of the classroom in the most spontaneous of situations, produced by people who I would not have met if I had simply closed myself off and limited myself by holding social interactions to a previous standard. I looked as hard as I could for the good in the people who were considered by the majority to be some of the worst. I found it. I thrived on the experiences that were given to me by the barrel full by my new guides. I looked past their preconceived judgments of me, in the hopes that they would follow in my footsteps of doing the same about them. They did.

As a result, I was taken to places I had never expected to go. I went to parties in huge farm fields with burning fires of saved Christmas trees that released a sweet smelling pine into the atmosphere as diesel fuel was poured onto their burning carcasses. The fire cast a stream thirty feet into the air lighting up the night sky. I learned how to produce smokier burnouts after leaving the drag strip by releasing the clutch at just the right time in the RPM band. I was taken to the heights of the Appalachian mountain range and to the lows of the TVA controlled lakes. Through all of this, I watched, learned, and eventually contributed as best I could to dissecting the meaning behind these experiences. Each time I reflected on an experience, I developed a feeling that my mother aptly characterized as, “feeling the way no one else has felt before.” I embraced that feeling and continue to as it always enriches my life in ways that are so unexpected and beautiful. In saying all of this, I am not advocating a carefree lifestyle nor am I saying that my years in high school were the best years of my life: they were not. However, my perspective now and always will be enhanced by the moments where I embrace spontaneity and for that reason, I will always believe in spontaneity.