Grant - Jacksonville, Florida
Entered on February 10, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: carpe diem
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Life, it’s what we all are living. It is one of the two things every person on earth shares. Everybody will live, everybody will die. I am not afraid of dying, I never have been, and I have accepted the fact that I am going to die eventually. It is not death that scares me. What I fear the most is the thought of dying with the knowledge that I never really fully lived life. I want to live not just survive.

In the winter of 2004 my family transferred to Yokosuka, Japan. At first I was opposed to the idea of leaving my birthplace and my home country to live in someone else’s. I did not want to leave the land of the free and the home of the brave. In my first year in Japan I made friends and went to school, skateboarded and hung out just like every other American kid is expected to do. That’s when it hit me, I was acting just like I would have back home in the States. I was not appreciating my time in a foreign country; I did not realize the experiences I was missing. I was not learning the language very well or seeing the sights. I was merely surviving.

When I realized this, a whole new view of the world came into focus. I was going to die and at first this thought depressed me. I did not want to die, no one really does, but then I looked out my window. I looked out the window and saw a whole race of people different from my own, I saw a shining sun and hundreds of sights to see and thousands of things I did not know. As I stared out that window I saw life, life and what I could make it. I did not see a vast world carrying a doomed species but a smaller world full of hope and potential. A world I could now see.

From that moment on I made it my goal in life to learn as much as possible and see the many awe-inspiring sights our world holds. I learned how to read and write in Japanese, how to eat with chopsticks and cook udon noodles. I travelled throughout Asia with my family and saw places I never would have dreamed of seeing just months earlier. From the towering sky scrapers in Hong Kong to the soft beaches of Hawaii, from the noodle shop down the block to the train bound for Tokyo, I began to live my life and I’m still living it today.

I believe in living life to the fullest. Take in everything with a smile and cherish every second as if it were your last. I am living my life to the fullest and I am going to die happy, with a smile on my face. I am going to die a man who lived.