Jumping into Green Lakes

Michelle - Harrisonburg, Virginia
Entered on November 13, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: carpe diem
  • 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.

This summer I babysat my five-year-old cousin for a few weeks. This little boy is highly adventurous and constantly wanted me to be his sidekick in exploring everything in sight. One day my cousin asked me if he could jump into a small lake in the park we were at. I quickly responded “Oh my gosh why would you want to jump into that dirty algae filled lake! You would get so gross!” He stopped and looked up at me and innocently asked “Why are you so afraid of everything?” And the sad thing was that I really didn’t know how to answer him. Although at that moment he unknowingly sounded wise beyond his years, I also couldn’t forget in the back of my head that this remark came from the same boy who earlier that morning told me that he was 32 acres tall. But nonetheless it made me think about how short life is and that I shouldn’t worry so much about everything and instead just live a little! Why not jump in the algae filled lake? You can only live life once and unlike the DVD of your favorite television heartthrob, you can’t rewind life over again and make changes. Since life is short and it can’t be redone, there’s no way it could be properly enjoyed with a hazy cloud of fear lingering over my every move. Whoever said “life’s short; party hard,” might not of been just a raging alcoholic at the local bar but rather a philosopher in disguise. Life is short and it can be very easy to get caught up in the day to day routine and before you know it your forty-five, single and eating Chinese takeout alone on Christmas Eve.

So this summer a simple question from a five year old boy who independently re-named himself “superman”, taught me to believe in living life to its fullest and to not be afraid to try new things no matter how outrageously spontaneous they may seem. Jump in the puddles on a rainy day; wear jeans more than once before you wash them. Go ahead and laugh in awkward situations when no one else can. Don’t hesitate to eat a whole pizza by yourself on a Friday night, splurge for two scoops instead of one. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to enjoy a good John Hughes film or to have a solo dance party to embarrassing but yet amazing eighties music. Live life to the fullest and have no regrets because mistakes are made so we can recognize success.