What I Live For
In September, my classmates and I read How I Lived and What I Lived For, a chapter from Henry David Thoreau’s Walden and were warned that at the end of the school year, we were going to be assigned a paper about what we lived for. The end of the school year seemed like it would take forever to come, and I quickly stopped worrying about the assignment. When we were reminded of the assignment a few days ago, I didn’t have an answer. The entire point of one’s teenage years is to find out who they are and what they live for and now I had about a week to do so.
This was a case of procrastinating at it’s finest. After staring at my computer screen for roughly an hour (not helpful), and typing several vague responses that I deleted because they sounded nothing like me, I began to ask my friends and family, who know me better than I know myself sometimes, what I lived for. My mom suggested family, and although saying that would make me seem very noble and selfless, it wouldn’t be true. My family and I are not as close as most families and we fight a lot. Not seeing my family for a day or two wouldn’t kill me (and I’m sure most teenagers feel the same way!) and every time I do something, I don’t have them in mind.
Because I spend most of my time performing or getting ready to perform, one of my friends suggested music, or theatre. I love to do theatre, and to be on stage, but it’s not what I live for. I have no intention of going into theatre when I grow up. I know that the probability of me reaching that dream is too low for it to be reasonable. Besides, I’ve gone days without singing.
They don’t come that often, but they are there. My musical ability is one of my greatest prides, and it is my favorite way to spend my days, but it certainly isn’t the meaning of my life. Another friend told me that I live for my friends. While I would take a bullet for any of them, without a doubt in my mind, I don’t think that’s the right answer either. I treat my friends like my family, giving them advice, telling them when they are being stupid, holding them while they cry, and doing just about anything to make them happy. I’ve come very close to getting seriously hurt before trying to keep them safe.
But my friends change all the time, and I expect that by the time I graduate college, or have kids, that my priorities will be different. So while friends may be very important to me, I do not live for them, because I am not always sure who my friends are, let alone how I will feel about them in a few months. At this point, I was slightly annoyed at the project, and in my frustration, I groaned out a call to no one in particular, asking what I lived for. A nice girl who sits at my table put down the work she was doing to help me. “Well,” she began, “What about money, or success, or riches?” I quickly shook my head at this.
I have never been one to put too much emphasis on material goods. “No, that’s not what I want.” I added. “What do you want then?” She asked, so simply that I didn’t even think about my answer before it slipped out of my mouth. “To be happy.” As soon as I said those words, she smiled at me, knowing she had just given me my answer.
I live to be happy. I am no big schemer, nor am I selfless enough to live for a noble cause like curing some horrendous disease. As it was simply put by my subconscious mind reaching out to speak for me when my conscious mind could not, I live for happiness. I live for the final bow of a play, when my heart soars and I am so happy I could cry and sometimes, I do. I live for when I’m with my friends and someone cracks a joke and I laugh so hard that it hurts.
I live for the beautiful, happy moments in life, because that’s what I want to remember. I’m not going to pretend to be someone I’m not. After all, this paper is about discovering myself. So as much as I would like to claim that I am heroic and selfless, I’m not. I live for myself.
I live to be the happiest me I can be, because I know that there will come a day when I can no longer go on adventures, because I am too old and weak. I want to have as much fun when I am young and be as happy as I can be so that on the days then I have no choice but to be sad, I can remember the good times. And if I have any say in it, there will be more good times than bad.