This I Believe

Tiffany - Chicago, Illinois
Entered on December 10, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: purpose

To Live Life Means To Slow It Down

I listen to oldies songs. I prefer handwritten letters. I like the idea of the old-fashioned kind of love: dive right in with your heart in your hands. I dance in the moonlight. I look up at the stars. I’m cliché to the max. I like to giggle and laugh about nothing at all. I like to watch movies in the dark of the theatre and listen to music when the band is on stage and the speakers are blaring in your ears. I believe in slowing down your pace and really enjoying the little things that life has to offer.

My cousins and I were raised by my grandparents in a rural area of the Philippines and this, my first home, is probably the birthplace of this belief. Since we lived in the agricultural area of the country, our lives were slow and humble. We walked down the uneven, unpaved roads, swam in the salty, choppy ocean, and spent quiet nights by the warm light of candles. We were always showered with affection and grew up learning about life through the eyes of my grandparents. They were very old-fashioned and those lessons that they taught us still linger with me, even now in a world that’s more fast-paced than anything.

Coming to America, I realized that this place is very different from the one that I’d left. Everything here is about instant gratification and satisfaction. I soon became used to this and didn’t really notice after a while how fast everyone was moving. I went back to the Philippines one summer and realized just how different these two places are. It was like returning to another world I had forgotten I left long ago. Back were the days of long meals together at the table, enjoying each others’ company, destination-less walks, and endless stories. I realized I was moving much more slowly than I was now used to, and I also realized that I didn’t care. I came back to Chicago from vacation that summer with a whole new mindset on life and what I like to do with it.

I like to invest time in long drives, long naps, and long talks, meandering this way and that, and never really getting anywhere. I like to sit on my couch and read for hours at a time. I love going out to eat with a few friends, talking about our lives and laughing over those hilarious moments (they’re the same memories every time). Life isn’t always about running around trying to get everything done all at once. To fully enjoy your life, you must begin by slowing down and really living it. This, I believe.