Coming of Age

Rachel - Norfolk, Virginia
Entered on May 4, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
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When I was younger, I always believed that if you made a wish when you blew out your candles and did not tell anyone, then your wish would always come. I always believed that dreams would always come true.

Every year thousands of kids make wishes on their birthdays when then they blow out their candles on their cake. I remember when I was younger, every year, I would wish for world peace. I was not really into the news that much, but for the most part, I thought that the world was doing pretty okay. As I got older, I came to realize that the problems in the world were far beyond my wishing, but still I kept making the same wish every year, hoping that it would come true.

I remember the day as if it were yesterday, almost as if it continues to replay in my head over and over. The day was Tuesday, September 11, 2001. It was unusually sunny, considering that the day before had been so cold, rainy, and dreary. I was sitting in my fifth grade class. I remember I kept looking out of the classroom door and into the hallway. The teachers were talking outside looking very uptight and panicky. As the day went on, parents came earlier than usual to pick up their kids from school. Eventually my mom picked me and my brothers up. I asked her why she, like so many of the other moms had picked me up so early. Then she told me what had happened. It was then on September 11, 2001, I decided that I would no longer waste my wishes on things that would never seem to possibly come true. I remember being so mad at myself for wasting all of my birthday wishes on something that would never come true. I felt like I had been wishing that pigs would be able to fly all those years. I told my mom that I thought I was helping out everyone else by wishing for world peace. She told me that that was a very unselfish thing of me to do. She also said that all I had done was make a wish. I had not done anything to actually make my wish come true.

From then on, I actually tried to help the world. I joined after school clubs such as the recycling club, students against global abuse, and amnesty international. By being in these clubs I gained an understanding of what it is really like to act on something you dream instead of continuing to dream about it.