The Key to Happiness

Adam - Apache Junction, Arizona
Entered on May 6, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family, gratitude
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When I was growing up my mother would tell me many sayings like “Be careful what you wish for” or “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” The one saying she said to me that sparked my epiphany is “You never know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” The saying is definitely true but it made me think how it pertained to me. I thought how could I not know what I had? I thought everyone knew when they had something good. Collectively, I’ve never had to lose anything to realize they were important. I guess I never took the time to worry about what I didn’t have because I was too busy focusing on what I did have.

I can remember a lot of instances where this outlook on life came into play. I remember having to walk to the grocery store every payday because we never had a car. I remember my mother would push this fold up cart thing filled with groceries while my siblings and I would follow with both hands filled with as much as we could carry. We would take the bus only if the weather was rough; my mother had to save the bus fares for places too far to walk. These walks got strenuous from time to time but I didn’t think much of it. The older I got the more bags I would have to carry, but I was glad to carry more bags because it meant more food to eat. I also liked walking because my family and I would talk about all kind of crazy things to pass the time while walking. I never lived in an actual apartment or house until I was fifteen either, just one bedroom efficiencies and hotels. I didn’t really care about this because I spent most of my time outside. Plus I looked forward to everyone coming back home. It was cramped a lot of the time but I thought at least we were all together. I hated to have the family apart for too long. Even though my family and I fought and fussed, I’ve never once wished for a different one. Growing up I didn’t have a lot of things like toys and clothes that many kids had, but I would have never traded my life for anyone else’s.

I look at it now and start to think that the only reason I thought so much of what I had was because I had so little. I don’t mean that my belief only pertains to what money can buy, but anything important in my life. I believe in order to be happy in life I must appreciate the things I have and not worry about things I don’t. My family is the thing I appreciate the most in my life and I will never have to lose them to know I have them.