The Ursuline Chronicle:The student news magazine of Ursuline Academy

The Ursuline Chronicle

A Senior’s Perspective

Celina Ceballos, Senior Editor

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Purpose. Truth. Love. Hope. Peace. These are what everyone searches for. They would do just about anything, risk their lives, travel thousands of miles, or perhaps, the most frightening, make themselves vulnerable in order to find any one of these things. Yet, they’re not really things, are they? Can we see hope? Can we touch our purpose? Can we hear peace? These are concepts. Made up by the human brain maybe. To somehow compensate for the scary thought that maybe we are all just particles of matter floating around on a giant rock with nowhere to go, no finish line, no meaning. It’s funny once you realize how ignorant these people are that think this is true. How meaningless their lives have been, and how meaningless they always will be. If they choose to believe that they are just two hands, two legs, and a head, instead of believing that they are comforting hands that can build up the world, strong legs that can run for miles and miles to reach a goal, and a brilliant head filled with knowledge that can be used to their advantage, what dull lives they must lead.

I sure do hope I can convince them otherwise. I yearn for the opportunity to lift them out of this dark hole that they have placed themselves in and show them the light. Life does not have to be meaningless. Yes, okay, maybe biology does show that we are made of just stuff—particles and atoms and compounds and other crap. But there has to be more to us than that. Life has to be more than that, and we can see that it is if we really live it. Which brings me to my main question: what is life?

Life. Four letters that have troubled the minds of geniuses for decades and centuries, yet we still cannot get it right. Some have come close; others have completely missed the target. I know what you are thinking now. She is 17, how could she possibly know what others have explored their entire lives and never found the truth? My answer to you is this—life is simple. It doesn’t take much time to realize what life is. If you are really looking at everything around you, feeling every emotion out there, asking the difficult questions, stepping out of your comfort zone, it is not a long journey to find out the meaning of life. I also do want to say that I may not have all the answers. And you do not have to agree with me. I am young and still have a lot to learn and experience. But let me tell you a little bit about what 17 years, 6,200 days, 148,800 hours, 8,928,000 minutes, or 535,680,000 seconds have taught me about that four-letter word.

Life is a gift. It is not something that should be wasted. Time is limited, just like life is. So, take it all in. Take a moment to smell the flowers, feel the air or the sun on your cheeks, look at the smile on the person next to you, feel the rush of the ocean beneath your feet. You will only have so many opportunities to do this, so never take any of them for granted.

Life is composed of hundreds of millions of tiny little moments. A toss of a ball. An excellent grade on a test. A laugh at something ridiculous. A burst of applause from an audience with all of their eyes on you. A final bow, wave, or goodbye. A jam session with your sister in the car to your favorite song. A great movie on a Friday night. A dance party with your friends in your living room. A letter written just for you by someone you hold close to your heart. A birthday cake with brightly lit candles. A wink from your family member. A shift in gear from park to drive. A sunset on a clear summer’s day. A word from someone that takes your breath away. Be in the now and do not let these pass you by, because these are the moments to cherish forever.

Life is a game. There are battles. There are wins, and there are losses. It truly is a roller-coaster, with ups and downs, peaks and valleys. Not every day is going to be full of sunshine and rainbows. There will be days where everything seems impossible. There will be times when you think that there is no purpose in life, there is no meaning, and you have lost. But life is not a game to be won or lost. It is a game to be played. How well you decide to play is up to you. Here are your prizes for choosing to play right: the giggle of a child, the touch of a hand grasping yours, the eyes of the one you love looking back at you in the morning light, the security of safety and home, the feeling of dignity and worth. There is no final prize, no final round, no end all be all winner. However, those prizes are how you win.

Life is a choice. There are too many choices out there to count. There are so many different ways to live life. The smartest people do their best to choose right. How do you choose? You follow your heart, you listen to your family, you take advice from the wisest in the land. You ultimately do what makes you the happiest. You do what fills you up with warm and fuzzy feels. You do what is necessary to survive. You choose to live the way that you choose to live.

Life is a series of questions. All questions have an answer. Sure, it might not have been the answer you were hoping for, it might not have been the answer you originally thought, and maybe it wasn’t even the truth. But everything does have some answer. It is up to us to not only find the answers, but also ask the questions. So be curious, dig down deep, search for what you believe in. But do not spend your entire life searching for answers. Sometimes you don’t even need to search—the answer is right in front of you.

Life is the impact that you have on other people and the impact they have on you. The experiences we have with other people shape the person that we become. The conversation we exchange, the relationships and bonds that we make, and how we treat those around us are what make up our lives. We not only affect other people, but they affect us. They cause us to hurt, lie, steal, and get into all kinds of trouble, yet they also cause us to love, jump for joy, and feel wonderful things that we could not feel on our own. And we do the same to them. The most important thing that other people do is teach us. Our parents teach us how to tie our shoes, ride a bike, and act properly. Our friends teach us how to have fun, get through hard times, and support those around us. Our school-teachers teach us calculus, a new language, and the way society works. If you are really lucky, you will find a person that does so much more than any of that—a true teacher. A person that teaches you how to choose from right and wrong, be who you want to be, and find the happiness in life. Those teachers are the people that you need and that need you the most. It could be anybody, even a stranger. Even though it seems like sometimes they make it worse, people are truly what make our lives better and what make our lives worth living.

Life is acceptance. Accepting other people for who they are, accepting the world around you for what it is, and accepting yourself for who you are will help you so much in life. You will not waste your time on hurt, anger, betrayal, sorrow, and regret if you can accept what is in the past and move on. You have to accept the life that you were given and go with it.

Life is finding inspiration in unexpected places. A sign on the street, a look in someone’s eyes, a poster in the doctor’s office, a painting in a museum, a movie that touched your heart, a book that moved you to tears, a poem whose words pierced you like knives, a song that made you want to sing your heart out along with the artist. These bursts of inspiration cannot go unnoticed and cannot be ignored. They are signals and reminders of how we should be living. We should be looking for this inspiration everyday, and everyday that we find these moments are blessings.

Life is not what society tells you it is. In this era, it is hard to believe anything that society, the media, the news, and the leaders are telling us. We have to remember that they have it all wrong. Society forces us into these boxes. Society places labels on us. Society prevents us from being who we really are—prevents us from living. Society can make us so busy, stressed out, and worked up that we forget to live. Society makes us believe that so many things are important when really they mean nothing. As I mentioned before, life is simple. It is breathing in and out, placing one foot in front of the other. Society distracts us from this idea of life, making it so much more complicated than it needs to be. More people need to learn to block out these voices, shouts, and whispers to focus on what really matters.

Life is living. Seeing each new day as a gift, embracing the tiny moments, playing the game, making the right choice, asking questions, being with people, accepting what is in front of you, finding inspiration, and eliminating the negative attitudes is what life is. Purpose. Truth. Love. Hope. Peace. They’re just words. Concepts. Maybe things. Maybe not even real, although we might run into them along our path in life. Life is something that we all have and we all deserve to have. Life is good. Life is worth living. If you haven’t started living yet, start now, because it is never too late to live. That is what 17 years, 6,200 days, 148,800 hours, 8,928,000 minutes, or 535,680,000 seconds have taught me about life. What has your life taught you?

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The Ursuline Chronicle:The student news magazine of Ursuline Academy
A Senior’s Perspective