This I Believe

Brandy - St. Louisville, Ohio
Entered on November 15, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in living life to its fullest. Sitting on the steps to the porch of my father’s house we spent a long evening discussing our distant relationship. Having been primarily raised by my mother, intense conversations between my father and I were few and far between. My father asked me if I learned nothing else from him during our conversation to take one piece of advice home with me. He then told me, “Do not settle.” Not knowing it at the time, I began to live my life through these words of a simple blue-collared man.

As a soon to be high school graduate, my father explained to me I could settle for going to community college, taking a minimum wage job, becoming a “housewife”, or going away to a private college. I was then faced with the idea of going to school to for fill my dreams or to settle for what seemed to be the easy way out.

As a maintenance man, my father knew what it was like to put in a long days work with little pay. He asked me if I would want to work the rest of my life in the local gas station that had recently employed me. Such an idea struck me as crazy. He explained to me how he did not plan to empty dumpsters for a living, but he only carried an eighth grade education and was unable to find work, making it possible for him to better his life.

He told me, “You are better than that.” My mother had always told me I was better than no one for I was an equal. Wondering why my father would tell me something so absurd, I thought long and hard about being sixty years of age and still working in the local gas station. At the point in time, I found myself believing I was truly better than that and I would not settle for any minimum wage job. I knew from that point on I would not settle for anything less than my dreams.

It was important for him to tell me not to get distracted with goals someone else has put forth for me. People are not perfect and my father will always find a flaw in the opposite sex, but my instincts told me to listen to his every word. I did not truly understand the intense meaning of his words for many years. Only after being in a relationship and it ending did I even begin to understand what my father meant. The thought of bringing children into the world gave true meaning to this idea.

Finally, as the night with my father came to an end, he told me in order to strive for my dreams and nothing less I would have to push for life in general. I was not to surround myself with negative people because I was to settle for nothing less than becoming a reliable, honest, and outgoing individual. He hoped he could turn on the guiding light for my journey through life. Not knowing it at that time it was the most important thing I have ever been told.