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This I Believe (2017 archive)

I just finished my final presentation of my entire BS and MS career on Tuesday, so I’ve been going through old school files and cleaning them up.

Today, I came across a short piece I wrote sophomore year for a Dean’s Scholars seminar on happiness and positive psychology. The topic was just to write a short piece about something you believed in. Enjoy! The last line is a quote from Nichijou, by the way.

May 1st, 2017

I write today not about a fiery, passionate belief, but about something I wish to work towards and continue developing. Life is composed of innumerable small intermediate goals that we meet along the way to the big ones, and it’s important to recognize that we are always works in progress. My values are constantly evolving and changing, and I am always doing the same to fit those values.

In middle school, I was a member of the band program. I enjoyed it to take my mind off school, to have some sort of extra-curricular activity. We were invited to perform at two prestigious music educator conferences consecutively in 7th and 8th grades. I didn’t think anything big of it at the time, and went on the trip to perform and have a bit of fun. Only later did I realize just how lucky I was.

Things changed, especially in the latter half of high school. I became very passionate about high school band. I poured my heart into the activity, even becoming woodwind captain and helping others along. It was extremely fulfilling to help and befriend everyone and in turn to gain their respect. My last year of high school, we were invited to play at the same conference I played at in 8th grade, the very first such achievement at our high school. That last trip, I noticed a major difference in how I felt compared to how I felt on the trips in middle school – I felt so very lucky. Lucky that our band program was surrounded by talented students and staff to qualify, lucky that everyone had the financial resources available to send us on this journey, lucky that I as a non-professional got to attend the extremely prestigious Midwest Conference not once but twice! At that concert, we played a simple hymn called “Grace Before Sleep”. The final rehearsal before the concert, as we played it through, I thought about the hymn’s verse “How can our minds and bodies be \ Grateful enough that we have spent \ In this generous room \ An evening of content”. I extended that to my entire musical journey the past seven years and before I knew it, tears were dropping from my eyes.

Since then, a multitude of other events have elicited a feeling of luck and gratitude from me. So much goes right in the everyday life of just one person, we often overlook such successes in overwhelming favour of fixating on failure and things that went badly. By focusing on my successes, my blessings, and my gratitude every day, with a careful mind for improvement, failure, and negativity, I hope to continue believing that “Our everyday lives may, in fact, be a series of miracles.”