This I Believe

Rachel - Fort Collins, Colorado
Entered on November 4, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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“If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.”

I’m sure that like all clichés, the first time someone said it, it was full of meaning and incredibly relevant to whoever heard it. Now everyone has heard it – at this very moment, there is probably some teacher, coach, or parent saying it, trying to convince some unwilling child to put more “effort” into something they’re quite sure is not worth doing. Some things just can’t be taught through clichéd expressions, they have to be learned through experience.

I’ve always been an all-or-nothing type of person. In elementary school, one of my greatest joys was planning lemonade stands in great extravagance – recruiting five or six of my best friends, assigning each one items to bring, baking, making signs, choosing the perfect day, and finally, making it all a reality. At the end, my friends and I always donated the money we made to the Humane Society nearby. For me, it wasn’t about the meager earnings, it was about planning something, and carrying it out perfectly, the best that I could. It was about doing something, and knowing that it was good. Something about that has always been so whole, so complete, so fulfilling, to me.

I’ve chosen to live my life that way – wholly and completely, giving it everything. I can say that as a gymnast I’ve at least learned one thing – once you’ve started, you have to keep going, or you get hurt. I’ve experienced it firsthand. The most dangerous thing you can do in gymnastics is to only half-throw a skill, or stop halfway through a skill. I believe that the same idea applies to life. It’s all or nothing.

But as I get older, the things that I am expected to do multiply, and grow harder. School, gymnastics, and everything else gets more and more difficult. Sometimes it feels overwhelming. Life is no longer as simple and carefree as it was in elementary school. How am I expected to do everything to the best of my ability?

I’ve learned that the answer is that you can’t. I’ve learned that you must choose – choose what is really important, and give those things your all. I’ve also discovered that a lot of things are best in moderation, and a lot of things aren’t worth doing at all. But this I still believe: if it is worth doing, it’s worth doing with your whole heart.