This I Believe

Cameron - Durango, Colorado
Entered on April 21, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
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About three or four years ago, I took a mission trip to a very poor and deprived place in Mexico to help them build a church. The first thing I saw as we drove up the rocky old dirt road was three kids playing soccer in the dirt with a makeshift ball. I realized just how much poverty there was in this part of Mexico, and how fortunate I was to have a van to drive up to their homes in. About two days into construction, I saw all the kids helping out with the work, moving concrete mix, painting walls, etc. But the thing was, they were joyful and were having fun, while I was hot, dehydrated, and miserable.

That night, one of them had a birthday party. At this party, they seemed to have just as much fun breaking piñatas and chasing each other around the street as they did building their church. At that time I was only about nine or ten years old, so I just thought they were odd people. About two years later, however, I thought back on building that church and realized something. These kids knew or believed something that I hadn’t realized yet. They took advantage of every opportunity to make it more fun, or to make their lives better or happier. I started to find the brighter side of every moment and grabbed every second to attempt to make it happier or more enjoyable.

That mission trip to Mexico changed my entire view on quality of life for me, and others. Not only did that trip influence this belief, but after it, other things started to as well. More subtle things, like happy telemarketers or janitors who whistled while they mopped. These people weren’t miserable, so why should I be? In my opinion, I even had it better than them. Even my dad, who works as a real estate lawyer, somehow finds a way to stay cheerful, optimistic, and positive, through his mind-numbing line of work. I saw all these things, and after I started to live this way, my life got better and better and continues to.

I see every moment as an opportunity to make my life, and others lives, better and happier. Then I take every moment and make it better, by doing things such as golfing on miller field if I’m bored, or buying soup and giving it to homeless people on the streets. Subtle things. These things make my life more entertaining as well as others better. This I believe.