This I Believe

Garrett - Norman, Oklahoma
Entered on February 7, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • 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.

“Keep on keepin’ on” was probably my favorite phrase from the movie Joe Dirt. While movie itself my not exactly provide the exact blueprints by which I choose to live my life, I do choose to believe the ever so articulate philosophy, “keep on keepin’ on.”

When I was nine my father decided to go back to college to finish his degree in order to better provide for his wife and two sons. My mother added many hours of overtime per week to help pay for the family’s needs, and my father worked in the day so he could afford his classes at night. I remember that it was a very stressful time for my family, but nevertheless, we were able to see it through.

When I was 16 my family moved, which means I switched to a different high school where I knew no one. I was a sophomore at the time, and it was the end of my junior year before I had any real friends. In that time I frequently caught myself muttering the phrase, “keep on keepin’ on.” Eventually the words lost meaning and just ran together. The phrase became sort of a personal mantra that I would utter at every inconvenience or hardship. It may be hard to believe, but a little sentence like that actually had the power to help me retain my sanity at a very awkward point in my adolescence.

“Just keep on keepin’ on,” my parents must have thought to themselves during my senior year of high school as they tried to figure out how they were going to afford my college education. They made it very clear to me that they would sacrifice anything so that I could go to college. Sometimes I wondered how they would be able to pull it off myself.

Fortunately, I was able to earn a quite generous scholarship that foots most of the bill for college, so now my parents don’t have to worry anymore. I may have switched schools again by moving off to college, but I know so many people now it is hard to keep track of them all. My old problem of not meeting new people is kaput. It seems as if all is well.

The point is that no matter the issue I get into and no matter the stakes, if I just tell myself to bite the bullet and work through, to see it to the end, to keep on keepin’ on, I always find myself come out the other side a little bit stronger than when I came in. Because really, that’s all I can do with what life throws at me. There is no getting around it or cheating the system; there is only the straightforward route, which is to keep my chin up and muscle through.

Now I just need to keep on keepin’ on through this cold, winter weather.