This I Believe

Christopher - Peoria, Arizona
Entered on December 2, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: purpose

All my short life my teachers have taught me to set goals for myself. And after I finish it, I go about accomplishing the next one. Whether it’s learning how to do a certain dance or just finishing a project on time, I’m constantly trying to accomplish something.

At my high school newspaper, I never stopped trying to push the boundaries of what was acceptable. I’d write captions for pictures that were funny and borderline-uninformative. I edited the sports page, and the word “ownage” came up more often than not.

But never once did I think, “This is as far as I want to go.” Free speech only goes so far at a school-operated/funded newspaper. At the high school level, they have the final say in anything that goes out. I’d go up to my adviser or editors-in-chief time after time, asking for a little more room to work with.

Early in my tenure as sports editor, the phrase “They’re so evil, they eat pictures of Jesus” came into my head. I thought it would have been a great line; funny, vivid, and smart all at the same time. Maybe not that smart, but still a humorous mental picture nonetheless.

When I brought it to my editor-in-chief, she shot it down immediately. Even though I knew she was a self-righteous hardcore evangelical, I assumed it’d be ok by her. After all, I thought, it’s not like I’m saying global warming was real, or that gays couldn’t help it. But no, it wasn’t ok, because it was “ridiculous.”

I fought every single day that year to get it placed, and even the next year to get some sort of proxy approval out of my adviser. I received neither.

It has occurred to me that giving up would just be another form of complacency. I’d be ok with what I had, and that just could never cut it for me. To me, complacent thinking is a complete lack of desire for anything different or new from what you already know and possess.

And there’s an underlying apathy with that line of thinking. Being happy with the life and things you have. Maybe it’s my ADD, but it terrifies me that someday I’ll be satisfied by doing nothing. If I don’t have anything to look forward to, then my life will lose purpose. There’d be only one thing left to do.