We Not I

Erin - Chicago, Illinois
Entered on March 18, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: humanism
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Throughout my life I have driven thousands of miles through places that are home to millions of people. However, all the while, I only catch glimpses: glimpses of homes, farms, and schools; glimpses of wealth and sheer destruction; and glimpses of the young and old. At first glance all of these places and people seem totally different. However, when things boil down we all share bonds with people that we know and love, people we have never met and people that we could never have imagined.

When I first came to high school I was very shy around people who seemed more outgoing than me. I remember believing that I was the only person who felt alone in the chaos. However, within the last year or so, I have come to an important realization. As one of my favorite quotes states: “We are not alone, we never were, and we never will be.” At times in my life, I can recall feeling as if nobody could possibly understand what I was going through. However, I have recently learned that even in those times, there were people all around me experiencing similar things.

Watching the news, I used to often tune out things that I believed did not pertain to me. I easily overlooked things like shootings on the South Side or the ozone hole. I subconsciously found myself believing that such things were so far removed from my life and affected only other people. All the while, I failed to realize that those people were no better or worse than me. In fact, we were in many ways the same.

Recently, one of my friends made an observation about another friend and I, claiming that we were polar opposites in many ways. To a degree, what she said was true. To most, the obvious things are that my friend and I come from different core groups of friends, different family settings, and in many cases make radically different choices. However, to me, these differences are really not that relevant. The things that are the most important are the values and experiences that unite us.

If a survey were to be taken of about the things people value the most, it is likely that common answers would include things as family, loyalty, and trust. However, when asked to describe another, it is likely that these commonalities would be overlooked. I once heard a wise person state that: “People are pretty much alike. It’s only that our differences are more susceptible to definition than our similarities.” Oftentimes, I find that people are striving for the same things. While, we all go about attaining these things in slightly different manners, the only truly important factor is the recognition of a common goal.

Now, as I navigate my journey in life, I strive to find those factors that unite us as people. I believe that in many ways, we, as humans, share common bonds whether we realize them or not. This, I firmly believe.