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Dying To Live This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   "and not when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear." - Thoreau from Walden



What a wonderful voice of reason. This quote, which I took from Henry David Thoreau, from his book, Walden, sounds like the reasoning I find myself frequently using. One situation which comes to mind is an argument I had with my mother, when an evening ended later than she liked.

One Saturday night I was out with my friends at a party. It was an ordinary Saturday night with us all hanging out at someone's house. Twenty-five people had piled onto one wooden deck and huddled around one glass table. The weather was warm and the stars were out. The big dipper was so clear and Polaris shined so bright that it lit up the sky. The pool, which was below the deck steps, glistened in the moonlight and looked inviting. But since no one had suits, no one went swimming, which no one seemed to mind.

People all around me were telling stories and jokes and everyone was laughing. Boys were busy flirting and girls were being flattered by the interest the guys were showing. Though we were really doing nothing, we were all having the best time in the world.

As the evening moved on, more people began to show up. With this new whirlwind of kids came more excitement and many new faces to talk to. I became caught up in one long conversation after another, talking about summer, friends, school, and just the world in general. Suddenly, I looked at my watch and realized it was 1:30 a.m. Now this was not a problem for most of the kids there, but for me it was. My mother had told me to be home by midnight.

I raced home as fast as I could. I got there to find my mother waiting up for me. There she sat at the kitchen table, sipping her apple tea, in her flowered, cotton bathrobe. With her make-up strewn across her face and her hair in shambles, she pointed a finger at me and asked me where I'd been. Slowly approaching, I explained the whole story. She told me that losing track of time was no excuse and I would have to think of a better one. After quickly racking my brain, I

came up with a reason that I thought was a step shy

of brilliant.

"Mom," I said, "I'm only a teenager. You have to let me live. If I can't live, then I'll look back on my life when I'm old and think it was boring. You wouldn't want me to die without even living, now would you?" She looked me deep in the eyes. I definitely thought that we agreed on this point. She looked as though she finally understood where I was coming from.

Next Saturday, as I sat alone in my room, a prisoner of a long grounding sentence, I realized I was wrong. Obviously, my point was not made clearly enough. Perhaps she just didn't see the genius of my reasoning as I did. Despite the results, I still believe that Thoreau had the right idea about living. Though I will not use this theory again to try to get out of a situation dealing with my mother, I respect and share his idea. I believe life should be lived to its absolute fullest, as long as I'm home, in my bed, by midnight. c


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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