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My Understandings - Sunshine Cheng

I don't know when it hit me that, eventually, we're all going to die. Somewhere between the lines of tragedy and adolescence I think I finally realized what my parents meant by 'life is short.' But don't get me wrong- I didn't change my life around one hundred and eighty degrees at an epiphany, and I'm no better the person than I was yesterday, but it's a work in progress. To be fair, I don't know if I'll ever achieve total self-actualization. It'll be the goal I'm destined to never reach. My average day consists of waking up in the morning, school, going home in the afternoon for a short nap and eventually getting back to school work, and I can't help but think sometimes that I'm doing all of this work for nothing, that I'll have put so much effort and so many tears into it only to die of exhaustion or old age- or both. But it's times like these that I have to remind myself that there are people who have it worse. In our modern age I believe it's hard for us to look at the whole scheme of things and realize how good we really have it- believe me, I'm the most guilty of it. I'm materialistic, selfish, and I take the things that should be dearest to me for granted. So when I review my day a second time, I find that it has changed in a small, but significant way. This time, I find that my average day would be waking up in a comfortable bed, in a warm home, getting an education (my most prized possession) handed to me for /free/ whereas other kids could only dream of being so lucky, coming home to a loving family (consisting of a father I've only ever always given more grief than absolutely necessary and a stepmother that I don't think I'll ever have the courage to admit inspires me to do great things) and then continuing to further my learning in the evening with tools so generously supplied to me by my family. I want to be a leader by example. And by leader by example, I mean I want to be the person that my younger sister, Caleesta, looks up to in the way I look up to her mother, who has gone through hell and back and somehow still manages to see the light of a better, more hopeful tomorrow. While my foot is still snagged on a rusty nail somewhere in the past, she's already nurturing the roots of the future. And that's the person who I want most to be. Today, she taught to me the meaning of enlightenment. No. Don't Google the dictionary definition. That isn't what I mean. Our conversation was brief, but no less meaningful than even the longest ones. I'm supposed to be the angsty teenager, so I didn't have the courage to thank her, instead replying with 'er.. so on Wednesdays we wear pink, but I don't have a pink. Do you?" But I digress. I guess what I'm really getting at is that life is, indeed, very short. Starting this fall I'm beginning my senior year at fifteen years old, and while that sounds totally rad, it's scary. I'm terrified that I've already let fifteen years slip through my fingertips without ever pausing to reflect and appreciate. It's always been speeding through the processes, going through the motions. I'm afraid that at the end of the day, I will have lived, but not really /lived/. This will have been the greatest lesson my Uncle Dai could ever have taught me. He said that he had done everything in his life that he wanted to do, had seen everything he could possibly have wanted to see. Yeah, he rid that crazy roller coaster called life, and he had his hands up in the air every second of it, while I'm, alongside a lot of people, still covering my eyes in fear of what's around the next corner. I want you all to be able to say the same thing one day, whether it be tomorrow, next week, next year, in ten years- live your lives, but really live them. Otherwise, what would have been the point of all this bs? Reach for your dreams, become enlightened, for everything you receive, give as much if not more, and for the love of green tea icecream (I'm not supposed to say God. Thanks, Gma) stop and smell the roses for once. It's a common phrase, but it really is something to be taken seriously. (Don't sniff too much, though. Bees up your nose are not fun. I can tell you that from firsthand experience.) "Reality - expectation = total happiness."

-S. (Haha yeah Dad I'm cool too. I can do the initial thing.)

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