Just Live Your Life

Darrell - Waukegan, Illinois
Entered on December 10, 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.

As a child I spent a lot of time with my grandmother. My grandmother was a very strong and wise woman. She raised seven children and put them through college, practically alone. I was taught at a young age that knowledge is power. My grandmother told me one thing numerous times, “We are all unique, and in order to achieve greatness, we just have to be ourselves and live our lives for ourselves.” What I believe my grandmother meant is that as long as we are good people, good things will come and we should just live our lives the way we want. Recently I have been trying to live my life for me, doing the things I want to do, and I have been accomplishing the goals I have set for myself.

Three years ago, I was not living this way. I was more concerned with my friends and girlfriend, my life was not really mine. I used to plan my days around either spending time with my friends or girlfriend, instead of putting my personal goals and ambitions first. I use to skip school and sometimes not go for weeks because I was too busy trying to have fun. I found myself becoming more and more of a follower. It became so bad I almost did not graduate from high school.

The breaking point was second semester senior year when I was told I might be held back. My dean and counselor explained to me that if I continued down my current path, I might have to go to summer school just to graduate. This news came as a shock; I never thought I would not graduate. The thought of me not graduating was depressing at the time, but it was also the key motivator for me to get my act together. The meeting opened my eyes to reality; we all must grow up sooner or later. I was messing up eleven years of hard work, and that was probably my last chance to make a change before it was too late. Three months later, I graduated because of the changes I made in my life.

I thought I was living life for myself my entire life, but I never truly understood the entire message until three years ago. Even to this day I believe in what my grandmother told me. I live by those beliefs everyday in the way I carry myself, and in the way I behave. I realize that we each get only one life to live; we have to make the most of it. Therefore, from the day I graduated I finally understood what my grandmother really meant. There have been a few times when I have almost strayed away from these beliefs. My character is constantly being put to the test. However, I just think back to senior year, and I remember how I allowed others to impact me and how I never want to let that happen again.