March 14, 2011
The Choices We Make
I remember a couple of months back when I first heard about one of the football players getting busted; It was shortly before finals took place and it was on somebody's Facebook status; at first I thought it was some kind of joke, at least until the next morning when I saw it on the front page of the school newspaper.
Honestly, I have a hard time wrapping my head around these things, much less forming an opinion about them. On one hand I thought, "well everybody does stupid stuff like that at some point. He's not perfect." But then when I read that he was one of the top players in our school's history and most likely heading toward an NFL career, my second thought was "what the hell was that guy thinking, risking a promising professional career and making a lot of money later in life, all for the sake of making a little extra money right now?"
Which in turn, comes down to the bigger question: How do you reconcile one not being perfect with the fact that there are some things a person should not do?
Not long after, I was sitting with my Mom at my sister's cheerleading competition and happen to be in the middle of a conversation that she was having with another person; at one point the person said "you have to think about what kind of daughter you're going to be, what kind of sister and friend you're going to be. You have to think about your character and how it will effect you later on in life." Now granted that was not directed at me, personally, but it definitely stood out to me in a way where I still remember it.
There's a saying that one shouldn't really care about what other people think of them; I believe that to be true, but I do think there should be something added to it. Instead, it should say "you shouldn't care about how others think of you or see you if it makes you happy and makes a positive impact on your life.
To a degree, you should care how other people see you: you should care that that picture of you on Facebook with a beer bong in your hand may or may not be the reason you get a job. You should care that cursing every other word really is a turn-off, especially if you do it for the sake of only doing so. And you should care about whether or not you respect yourself; by respecting yourself, you lead others in being able to give respect to you.
And you should especially care if what you do could very well end up costing you your life.
I admit that I haven't always made the best decisions, both in college and in life. I've had to learn the hard way about what's good for me and what isn't. But in regards to my ability to stay grounded, I give a lot of credit to my parents. They constantly tell me that I am at school to get an education, and the rest is just icing on the cake. For some people my age, that may get annoying; but I personally find it as a powerful reminder that college is not a free-for-all. It's true that you get a lot more freedom when you go away and no longer live with your parents, but freedom is only freedom until you start abusing it.
But that's not to say that one can avoid making mistakes entirely. Like it or not, you will stumble and fall at some point or another. And when that happens, all you can do is acknowledge what you did wrong, apologize to those you hurt, and move on. From that point, all you can do is make sure that something good comes out of it.
Which leads into questions about role models and what makes a person a role model. However, I am leaving that for a different day.
I do not write about all of the above in the sense that I am better than everyone else. I don't go around telling people how to live their lives, especially if I myself don't live up to those values. I am only reiterating what I have learned, and how I am applying that to my own life.
Everything you do has a consequence; it can be something that's good and lifts you up, or something bad that ultimately brings you down. Either way, there is no going back afterward.