This I Believe

Brown - Wichita, Kansas
Entered on December 10, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

Nothing Is Set in Stone

If my life has taught me one thing, it is the absolute certainty that things never remain absolutely certain for long. Circumstances change constantly, and life is far too unpredictable to try to anticipate and prevent it from doing so.

Looking back on the events of my life, I see that this change can be really surprising: I’ve essentially gone from an ornery somewhat disrespectful chair pulling youngster to a more subdued and thoughtful not-quite-adult. I’ve experienced deaths of loved family members, births of new ones, disintegration of some friendships, and others have grown to be far more significant and meaningful than what my younger self might have predicted. Also I’ve gone from a rabid dog lover to the happy owner of two cats and the same dog, all of whom are surprisingly compatible with one another.

Just as I believe life is always changing, I also believe that I am what I choose to be. Essentially, the magic and challenge of life doesn’t come from the events within it so much as from how I choose to react to them, or as my mom might say, “attitude is everything.” I still find that changing my approach to life changes how I feel about it, that school, friends, family, and responsibilities all become more manageable when I take a positive outlook; whereas a negative outlook turns everything into a veritable ninth circle of hell.

Short though my life has been, I’ve tried on and taken off many personas in turn, sometimes without even realizing it: I’ve been the mean older brother, the jaded teenager, the obnoxious class clown (a personal favorite), the depressed romantic (not so much a personal favorite), the competitive scholar. I’m not really sure how to describe myself right now, but I expect I will figure out a name for it if I decide to change yet again.

Although my life philosophy may be uncertain in a very literal sense, I think it has really helped to sustain me when I was going through tough times. It’s hard to really give up when the going gets tough because I at least know that the going can’t be tough for long; that I outlast anything that happens to me. Also, whenever I find that I’m not liking myself or am disappointed with what I’ve done (which I think is a situation most people have found themselves in on at least one occasion), I know I can just change into someone that I’d rather be. I think the beauty of personality lies in that it is so mutable.

Change is inevitable. So why fight it? I might as well embrace it and make the best of it. After all, if I hadn’t done so, I might never have realized there’s a cat lover inside me.