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A Way of Life

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A person’s very way of life is dependent on his perspective of the world. People from all cultures and religions have values, and these beliefs are unique to every individual. Every choice and action that a person makes is entangled with their values. My values are also very unique. They are different even from my family members, because I have had experiences that they have not. My most prominent belief is that if you don’t enjoy something, it isn’t worth doing. This ideal is very simple. If you are doing something that doesn’t make you happy, you might as well not do it at all.

A small boy believed that one day he would become a famous artist. The day he decided to go to art school, his father stopped him. His father believed that his son was being childish and immature. He warned that this decision was naïve and instead he should go to an engineering college to make a name for himself. After hours of interminable arguing, the boy agreed. The boy was very successful and came to be a person whom his father was proud of, but throughout his life he felt a strange void in his heart. Slowly that emptiness grew until his success didn’t seem to mean anything to him anymore.

This boy also had a very close friend. His friend also fantasized about being an artist. Both of them grew up in the same town, on the same street, and even in the same building. The only difference was that on the day that this boy had to leave for college, he didn’t let anything stop him. He fought and reasoned with anyone who stood in the way of his happiness and he was able to go to the art school that he had dreamed of as a child.

10 years later the two childhood friends met at a party. Both of them started chatting like two little schoolboys just like they had done so many years before. They spoke ecstatically until the topic of their careers came up. The artist spoke jubilantly about his many paintings and sculptures. The engineer just lowered his head guiltily. He was jealous of his friend’s joy and happiness. Suddenly, the sorrow that had bottled up inside him spilled out. Tears streamed down his face as his feelings about the ten dismal years that he had lived poured out of him. He cried about the regret he felt and wished he had convinced his father to let him go to art school as well. Though the boy who became an artist was not as rich or successful as the other, he had chosen the thing that made him happy in life. That decision is what was truly important.

My mother had told me this story many years ago. I believe happiness is the key to living because I have been able to apply this value to my everyday life. Without this belief, I would not be half the person I am today.

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