This I Believe

Evan - Irmo, South Carolina
Entered on February 5, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

Slow and Steady…

Nowadays, everybody seems to be rushing around. From the moment we’re born, we’re pressed to do, do, do. We’re taught to think that we’ll be happy once we “get that promotion” or “do well on that exam.” Of course, once we achieve that goal, there’s always another step up that we have to strain to reach. We’ve become a society of workaholics, all chasing after the “American Dream”, and I have yet to see a workaholic who has been satisfied with their life.

I know that from the moment I set foot in school, I was pressed to succeed, to be the best. I did so. I didn’t know any better. I was told that I would be successful in life if I only did well in school. So, as a result, I put my whole effort into trying to succeed in school. And yet, it left me oddly unsatisfied. I had no friends, and I didn’t really know how to relax and just have fun. I hated it. No matter how good my grades or tests I passed, I didn’t feel any better with myself.

It was only in my ninth grade year that my dad died. It was that event that really helped me to see a different perspective from the one I had been continuously taught. School brought me no satisfaction with my life, and had, in fact, blinded me to things that really mattered. I stopped trying to climb the ever-rising ladder of supposed “success” and started focusing on the other things in my life; the important things that they don’t teach you in school: how to love, how to dream, and most importantly, how to stop and smell the roses.

I began to talk with people, make friends, and focus more on the people in my life rather than my schoolwork. My grades in school, while still high, began to drop. However, I feel better with myself than ever before. I no longer see satisfaction as reaching the top of the ladder of success. Rather, I see it as being able to relax and enjoy the journey. We are so often preoccupied with reaching an imaginary finish line that we forget about the sightseeing. So often do we forget that each and every one of us is a human BEING, not a human DOING.

Life isn’t perfect for me. I’ll never say it is. There are good times and there are bad times. However, I’ve put value into being able to enjoy all of those times as I come across them instead of consistently putting it out of reach ahead of me. Why spend eight hours a day chasing after a shadowy wisp of happiness when happiness is easily within your reach?