Posts tagged This I Believe
By Tyler Buchanan
For us, love has been neither patient nor kind.
It was raining the evening Lauren’s car slid off the road into a brick wall. Her car totaled, we walked away unscathed.
It was raining again three weeks later as we approached our highway exit a quarter mile away. The slick roads and heavy traffic meant we couldn’t avoid the stalled car in our lane.
Fifty miles an hour. Slam.
Months later, I’m still reminded of our feelings of desperation and helplessness each time I take that exit in driving four hours across the state to visit her.
The crash left our doors jammed inward. Fighting to escape, we watched behind us as dozens of semi-trucks and cars came directly towards us at high speeds, some nearly spinning out of control on the wet highway. Many came within a few feet of hitting us as we did the first car.
We freed ourselves from the wreckage and were met by the other car’s driver who’d watched from the highway’s shoulder.
She told us her car had ran out of gas and that she was going to get help. She fled the scene, walking off the exit we didn’t make it to, never to return.
It was just us two in the rain, scared and shaken, but safe.
We are stronger together through these experiences. Improbable chance has kept us safe, along with further evidence of circumstance which brought us together to begin with.
At first, she was merely words on a computer screen.
“21 years old, female, Ohio, dream job: travel writer,” read her post.
Neither of us were single at the time or on any kind of dating site. At the break of dawn, I must have refreshed the page at just the right time to even see it.
“Oh, you’re a writer too?”
“No,” she replied, “I just put something down.”
Going to college in southern Ohio and being from North Carolina, she’d never even heard of Bowling Green.
I believed in following my heart, even if it meant taking a 168 mile chance a few weeks later to meet her in person.
David Coleman, the “Date Doctor” and inspiration for the movie Hitch, spoke at BGSU last year on the perils of long distance relationships. Over 90 percent eventually fail, he warned, and communication becomes increasingly difficult.
But who says we’re normal?
Over the past year, maintaining a strong relationship has been aided by the wonders of modern technology. I’ve learned to appreciate, however, the significance of the occasional phone call or even a simple letter in the mail.
Through the tribulations, the countless thousands of miles back and forth and the growing number of wrecked vehicles, our hearts have only grown stronger. If we’ve survived through such impossibilities and troubles apart, I’m sure we’ll do just fine when we’re finally together for good.
I hope and believe that our engagement will come sooner rather than later, provided our finances cease going to more car down payments.
Within a few months, she’ll move in with me and we’ll begin a life together. The intangibles we’ve gained through experiences, good and bad, will sustain us both forever.
By Ryan Satkowiak
I believe that growing up on my own has prepared me for real life.
Going to college exactly 2,392 miles away from home has given me a new perspective on things. As cool as it is to have mom and dad around to lean on, they won’t always be there to hold my hand; they won’t always be able to guide me through life.
I hear a lot of kids complain about living at home. They claim they want to be independent. But when they finally get away, they seem to always find their way back home.
And what is that going to teach you? That when times are rough, and you don’t want to face adversity on your own, that mommy and daddy are just a two hour car ride away?
Newsflash. That isn’t how the real world works.
My dad instilled that message in me for as long as I could remember. He would tell me, “Ryan, life isn’t fair. Someday, you’re going to have to figure things out on your own.”
Never did I think I would have to do that as an 18-year old college freshman. In a foreign town. With no friends, no parental security blanket.
It was then that I learned how to be responsible. As much as my parents wanted to be there to guide me, both them and I knew this was a lesson better off learned on my own.
They were always protective of me as a child, sometimes over-protective. I hated it, I wanted to be able to do my own thing without their input.
Little did I know how difficult that would be.
Having to wake myself up in the morning, having to budget every single one of my expenses, it was all new to me.
It should never have been that way. A paperwork screw up prevented me from going to San Jose State, a two-hour drive from my hometown.
I could have been one of those kids, but I’m not. I’ve had to play the cards that were dealt to me.
And I believe having to go through this in college has better prepared me for the real world, for life after college.
Unlike many of my peers, I now understand why parents get pissed when you leave lights on: electricity is not cheap. I understand how to balance my expenses, to make sure I can afford that new CD, but still have enough money to feed myself for the week.
For some kids, they won’t know what that’s like until after college, maybe even later. A recent survey of college students showed that 60 percent of them plan to move back home after graduation.
I don’t want that. I love my parents more than anything, but after experiencing living on my own, I could never go back to that.
I know how to live on my own. I know how survive without my parents being just a short drive away.
But I believe that their trust, their faith in me has allowed me to feel this way.
I believe in being independent, and that once you experience it, you will never want to go back.
By Stephan Reed
I believe that you don’t have to be the perfect parent to make an everlasting, positive impact on your child’s life.
My mother, Tracy Anne Reed, battled alcoholism and drug addiction from her teenage years until the day she died at the age of 47. My earliest memories of her involve her slurring words, driving recklessly and putting the lives of my sister and me in danger.
But I loved her. I still love her. I will always love her.
Even though she seemed to have nothing organized in her life, she tried her best to make a decent life for me. She knew she didn’t have the resources to care for my sister and me, so she put the responsibility of raising us into the hands of our grandmother and later, my godmother.
But this made me care for her no less.
As years went on, her drug addiction worsened and our relationship was strained. We would go months without talking and much longer without seeing each other.
But the urge to be responsible for her never faded.
One time, I arrived at her dilapidated trailer home and found her intoxicated on her cigarette-burned couch. The look of despair on her face as I walked through her torn screen door is unforgettable. She instantly burst into tears. She never wanted me to see her so broken.
After her drunken, yet heartfelt apology, I left her home, leaving $50 on her kitchen counter because, at a glance, she didn’t have an adequate amount of food. I could never let my mother go without.
The relationship with my mother deteriorated as the one with my now ex-girlfriend grew. At the height of my romantic relationship, I hadn’t talked to my mother in six months.
On July 16, 2009, my mother died. I was in Chicago on a church trip with my girlfriend. I was 17 years old. According to a 2010 survey from Comfort Zone Camp, one out of nine people under the age of 20 have lost a parent.
When I received the message, my body went numb. Nothing seemed real.
I told my girlfriend first. She threw her arms around me and cried with me. The first time she met my mother was at the funeral three days later.
The ceremony was grim, yet routine. The same speeches are given at all funerals, yet no words, no speech could give my mother’s life justice.
Her death lingered in my mind. Whenever I saw my girlfriend, I thought of my mother. Eventually, my girlfriend began to fill the emotional void left by my mother. I treated this girl with the same love that I would have treated my mom if she were still here.
Selfless. Eternal. I care this much for the friends I now consider family.
Even though she wasn’t the greatest mother, she was still my mother and I loved her exponentially. She didn’t have the estate to leave me with something tangible, but she left this world with a lesson in empathy, responsibility and forgiveness in her metaphysical will.
I was her sole heir.
By Erin Cox
I believe in being rude to the 3.8 million minimum wage workers who provide me a service. Those people working the check out lines and making my food signed up for a position where their only job description is to make me, the customer, the one and only, happy. That’s easy enough. That’s why they only get minimum wage.
It’s so annoying when the cashier is not waiting for me at the register. I usually just shout across the store. She’s always following me around asking if I need any help, and then, as soon as I need her, she’s nowhere to be found. I have places I need to be, an actual job to go to and I just don’t have the time to wait as she finishes whatever it is she’s doing.
After making me wait so long, I can’t believe she still tries to talk to me as she rings up my purchase. She always asks me about my day when I’m checking out; I just turn the other way. She doesn’t actually expect a response. She’s just asking me because she has nothing better to do with her time at work.
I believe when I want to use my 10 million coupons for one item, it should work. I don’t care what she claims the store policy is; she obviously doesn’t know what she’s doing. I don’t understand how these employees can be so incompetent. They should know exactly how to make my coupons go into the cash register.
While I’m on that point, I also think they should know what the price is for each of the items as well. This is all these people do with their lives. They obviously can’t get a better job because who would in their right mind would choose to work at a retail store or fast food restaurant. I honestly don’t see how some people make this their career. They should go school and get a degree.
I believe the clerk sets the prices. Every time a price goes up, I’m going to complain to the girl working the cash register. When she tells me the total of my cart full of items, I will shake my head in disgust and start adding it up for her to show her she’s wrong. She must have made a mistake in her adding because she controls that cash register and the prices it rings up.
I believe I will tell the person who does not make me happy that she must be uneducated since she doesn’t have a real job. Standing on your feet for eight hours a day, handling money and providing customer service to people like me does not count.
I believe the cashier is not my equal.
I believe she does not deserve my respect.
I believe I am better than her.