This I Believe

Anthony - Marietta, Georgia
Entered on December 17, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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His condition had steadily been getting worse. This condition wasn’t caused by a disease or any ailment; it was simply age. My grandfather had just turned eighty three. He was staying at our house because of his inability to care for himself. But this was a good thing, for now I would come home and look forward to either shooting a game of pool I could never win or just watching TV. What better than to have your grandfather close by every day?

I thought I had connected with my grandfather, and I continued thinking that until the day we lost him. That day all the things I had wanted to do, the things I had put off until tomorrow, suddenly came into view only to be blown away with the last breath he took. Now I realized my opportunities lost, and it was devastating to realize there would be no others and no TV shows and no billiards.

This regret began to consume my life and limit my expansion as an individual. Day by day my shoulders would slump, my head would hang low, and I would meander through the halls at school with no purpose while I reflected on all the things I did wrong. “What’s the answer to forty one?” my teacher asked one day.

“I don’t know,” I replied blankly, even though I could have answered the same question not two weeks before. My average fell from an A to the brink of a B, and I realized it. I didn’t realize that only I could steal the first step towards this recovery. I needed to remind myself that my life was not over because I missed a few conversations; I needed to remind myself to move on.

This goal would eventually become a reality. Grades climbed back up, relationships with remaining relatives strengthened, and I engaged in deeper conversations with people. I began searching for a way to improve my life and the interactions with the people in it instead of blaming myself for past actions.

My experiences shaped my life, and they formed my beliefs. I believe that regrets of the past should not surpass thoughts of the future. Do not make the same mistake I did. Find ways to improve life in the future instead of making the present even worse. Attempting to accept mistakes of the past will just result in a long, drawn out self-torture. We need not only today’s leaders, but all people to be positive and look ahead, and this is not possible if people wallow in self-pity.

I believe the future is the most important thing in the world today. Complaining about and trying to change the past is futile. I believe people should remind themselves of the good that can result from their actions in the future rather than the consequences that came from their actions in the past. I believe moving on is crucial in maintaining a great society and content life. This I believe.