Follow the Leader
The first people I saw when I came into this world were my parents, loving and gentle. I was nothing more than unformed thoughts, and yet they must have been proud. My parents guide me and nurture me to the best of their abilities, and so naturally, I follow in their footsteps.
They have always been there to lift me up when I want to fly like the birds and catch me when I fall.
They shape me for survival, so when the day comes for me to finally leave the safety of their nest, I will be able to survive on my own in this turbulent world.
Follow the Path
Long, long ago, someone carved a path in the middle of a barren desert, and for generations, we all trundle down that path like we’re told. ¨No distractions,¨ they tell us. ¨You’ll be safe if you stay on the path.¨ Unfortunately, I’m easily distracted; while most people keep their eyes forward, I see the beautiful oasis off in the distance, complete with palm trees and waterfalls. ¨You won’t make it that far,¨ they tell me. ¨The deserts are far too vast, far too dry. You’re more likely to die trying.¨ So I stay put, and I continue my monotonous walk down the path that leads nowhere, along with the countless others who keep their eyes fixed on the emptiness ahead.
No one falls, and yet no one flies.
Follow Your Heart
We all have dreams as a kid, but most of them die to make way for more realistic fantasies. When I was in first grade, I wanted to be a princess; I wanted to sit on my pink throne and live happily ever after with my prince. In fifth grade, I was old enough to know that I can’t possibly be a princess; so instead, I dreamed of becoming an artist. In eighth grade, before injuries crippled me, I wanted to be a runner‒ a four-minute miler. But ever since kindergarten, I have always known in my heart that there is only one thing I truly want to do with my life. This dream never dies.
This is my oasis far off in the distance.
In the real world, there’s no one there to lift you up when you want to fly like the birds; you’ll have to grow your own wings. The truth is, I don’t want to go without feeling the wind beneath my wings. I believe that we all have a purpose in this world, if only we have the courage to realize it. Take risks. Make mistakes. Stray from the path. Fall, only to get up again and again until you finally learn to fly.
I walk past people every day: on the sidewalk, in the hallways, in the classroom. I will admit that I don’t give much thought to these people, who I see again and again, yet to whom I stay silent. I won’t claim to know them by name. Many of them I recognize, and hopefully, they recognize me as well. Some I might have known for a day, a month, a year. Some I talk to often, others, not at all.
But as I pass people in the hallway, how often do I say hello? Too often I avoid eye contact. Too often, I don’t even think to glance up. Too often, I fix my eyes on a point in the distance until the danger has past, the person is behind me, and I breathe a sigh of relief at having successfully passed someone else on the sidewalk without incident.
One cool spring morning, I strolled down F-Hall on my way to first period when I spotted a friend coming my way. I prepared myself for a wave and to walk on. However, she spread her arms for a quick embrace and inquired how I was feeling. She beamed and informed me that I looked great today.
Then she walked away.
I looked great today? I looked great today? My friend had a hug and a compliment to give, neither of which I asked for, but both of which I received. I left the scene feeling quite flattered and cheerful.
Humans are social creatures, yet why do I so often ignore the people I walk past? Is that how I want my life to be? Avoiding others, afraid to talk? It is so easy to make someone happier by acknowledging and talking to them, and it costs nothing but a couple seconds from my day and a little friendliness. Why should I withhold that when I can so easily use it? Why should I refuse to acknowledge a person?
I walk past people every day. I believe that I should put myself out there and say hello. A simple hug can encourage someone on a long day. A simple word can make them smile. I believe that whenever possible, you should greet others and compliment them. I believe that everyone deserves acknowledgement. If I take the time to greet others, take the time to say a compliment and initiate a conversation, I could easily make someone so much happier. So take the time. It all begins with a simple “Hello.”
Silly how people feel the obligation to say goodbye to parents, friends, peers, even teachers. We were programed at an early age that we needed manners and needed to be respectful to people; I execute most “manners”, but I never feel the responsibility to utter the word goodbye.
Every now and then I perform that rare occurrence of speaking that two syllable word, but more often than not, I leave without so much as a “see you later” or “I had fun” or “thanks for inviting me”. From the beginning of my school career to present day, my father witnesses many of my infamous exits. The slow reverse of my feet, the droop of my head, the ever so slyly pivot of my body to pinpoint the EXIT sign, all leading to the my scurry lope to my car. Time and time again my friends yell goodbye or wave the gesture to my back. Funny how I never felt the urge to stop, make the 180, smile, and repeat the action. For some strange reason I feel it is easier to walk away alone, content, rather than the pulling feeling that tugs on your heart after you compulsory embrace all of your buddies and then are forced to leave the source of entertainment.
Recently I attended an end-of-school-year bbq at a close friend’s house. After a day of laughs, jokes, and deliciously dreadful chicken, the sun began to wave goodbye to us, which indicated it was my time, to also, remove myself. Waiting for my dad to drive up, I sat among my friends discussing the taco truck, Wingstop, SAT scores and which colleges would, hopefully, allow entry to us. Blinding white lights momentarily pass over my eyes, signaling the arrival of my father and the departure of the “good times”. I remember silently heading to my father’s accord, then right when my fingers stumble for the door handle, a burst of GOODBYE KATIEs caught my attention. Instead of gazing at them and returning the gesture, I unlocked the door and swiftly flopped myself into the passenger seat. Then, right then and there, out of the blue to me, but completely precedented by my despicable behavior, my father lectured me. Like a little child I suffered the wrath of my father’s scolds.
How selfish I was to believe that my actions did not have consequences. By ignoring them, it gave them the feeling that I did not care about them or that our friendship was not as strong as they thought. I was ignorant.
Now and forevermore the philosophy of saying goodbye will be a part of my daily life. To some it may seem insignificant or trivial to uphold this moral, but to me it is an intricate standard that I will always try to maintain.
Throw Away Your Trash
I’ve always been conditioned to throw away my trash. After every meal, at school, at the beach, on signs at amusement parks. It’s common knowledge. What I’ve come to realize is that this has become one of my most important life morals, in both a figurative and literal sense.
Why do we throw things away? Because we have no use for them anymore. We clear it out because it’s dirty, the remnants of good things that we used to have or posses. We throw them out because we don’t want them.
When I was in third grade, my teacher assigned us to write about our best and worst memories. As I scrolled through my memories, I realized that I didn’t have any that were unhappy. It was then I became aware that I filtered out the memories that weren’t as happy as I liked. I only kept the joyful ones. Try as I might, I couldn’t think of any crummy memories that stood out to me.
Of course, I’m not completely void of bad memories. There are still some that are lingering about in the little mass that I call my brain. These memories glare at me, blinking angrily until I notice them. However, I have hope that these will soon be thrown out into the trash. Because these memories are what keeps me from being completely positive everyday. When you’re weighed down by a ton of garbage, there’s no way for you to stand up straight and smile.
Bad memories are just like trash. You want to get rid of them, but they linger until you forget them or dump them out. I throw the trash in my mind away because I don’t want those memories to last. They’re dirty and just fragments of my memory that I would rather not remember.
So forget the bad memories. Maybe it was failed test or an argument with a friend. Maybe you and your parents had a large disagreement. Maybe a run-in with an old enemy. Whatever it is, those bad memories are weighing you down. They aren’t worth your time.
Throw away your trash.
“Goodbye” has a dreadful touch of agonizing pain that vibrates out of the throat. It means leaving and never turning back. Whether death takes its toll or a step out of my life is made, both are just as devastating as the other. It is inevitable; goodbyes are guaranteed and promised. The endings, the farewells, the famous last words, and the final breaths all form a huge impact on my life.
No one escapes unscathed. Every story of separation is different, but I am sure everyone understands that basic, wrenching emotion that comes from uttering the two syllable word, goodbye. My heart twists and churns as that word eats me alive. Not knowing if I will see that person again; or perhaps knowing that I will not.
It is only when I've lost someone that I realize the nonsense of that phrase “It’s a small world.” It isn’t. It is a vast, devouring world, especially if I am alone.
Fate is so undetectable. I try to remember the last time I saw someone, but most of the time it’s a blurry memory, because at that time I had no idea it would be the last.
I think the hardest part of losing someone, is not having to spit goodbye, but rather learning to live without them. Always trying to fill the void that is left inside my heart when they go.
However, sometimes, losing them is actually a gain. People come and go for a reason. They bring something we must learn. I believe pain bends and breaks me into a better shape. Hence the “good” from goodbye.
Everyone is a lesson. I don’t meet people by accident. Through each and every character or personality I meet, I change and grow. I develop patience, learn determination, gain knowledge, improve endurance, establish strength of character, attain experience, build up thankfulness, gather more views on life, and more. These occasions help mature me into a better person.
People leave me because they no longer take any part in my life. They have done their job. Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. Even through all the pain, I can turn my mess into a beautiful message.
Ever feel crestfallen and depressed? Moments like that are not something to reminisce about. We’ve all had those gloomy days where you just want to lock your bedroom door and lie on your bed and not think about anything. But if we always thought of all the negative in life, what a horrible life that must be. My philosophy is to always keep a positive mind.
My belief may sound vague, but there are so many things you can do to be happy. Do whatever makes you feel good inside and gives you joy. My number one thing to lift up my spirits is to put on a great big smile. I have been using this method since I was a toddler. It really brightens up not only your day, but the positivity travels from one person to another. A smile sends positive vibes to your brain saying, “I’m feeling great today!” Smiles are also contagious, it’s like a smile cycle. Imagine giving someone a smile. You would make them feel cheerful inside and they would spread that smile to the stressed and depressed. Imagine what one smile could do. A new friendship? A happier day? A stress-free atmosphere? Whatever it is, you could be the difference between someone’s gloomy day and their happiness.
Another tried-and-true method I use is a simple scoop of creamy ice cream. The variety of sugary flavors, the velvety-smooth texture, the wide array of colors and hues just makes me feel great inside. I think it’s because ice cream is nostalgic. It brings back memories of my childhood where everything was carefree and merry. Ice cream just reminds me to stay positive, just like a child’s attitude. The melt-in-your-mouth texture also makes me happy because it encompasses your tongue, tingling my tastebuds. The sweet taste of the creamy liquid gold gives you a boost of energy and happiness.
I think in life, it is key to try to live a jovial and positive life. Try to live your life to the fullest because a gloomy sad life would be such a waste of a lifetime. My advice, stay positive in life and keep your head up. So, put a smile on your face, take a scoop of the Mint n’ Chip or Madagascar Vanilla, and spread the positivity.