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Live Life to the Fullest

By Fernanda Rivas Cansino, Grade 11
A year ago this Saturday, Level 1 of Jumanji started. We never thought that it would reach this point, where millions of people have been affected, directly and indirectly. 2020 not only taught me to appreciate things and not take anything for granted but to try to live life to the fullest no matter what. 

I had a great time over break, but just as I spent it with my family and friends, I also spent it at some doctor’s appointments. As some of you may know, I have a very strict diet and somehow, as time goes on, the list of the things I can't eat keeps growing. One thing led to another and among all the other things that were happening, I saw myself visiting medical professionals from nutritionists to cardiologists. Being only a few days away from returning to Stanstead, a doctor asked me if Stanstead was so important to me. If returning to school or my health mattered more to me? 

This question made me reflect on everything that was happening, and I realized that everything that was happening was not in my control. We can’t control life and what it decides to throw at us. The only thing we can control is ourselves. 

Over break, I read a book about called The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz that turned out to be a guide on how to live life to the fullest surrounded by happiness and love. The first agreement is to be impeccable with your words. Regardless of the language you speak, your intention is perceived through your words. Use the power of your words, directing them in the right way, while always speaking with integrity. 

The second agreement is to not take anything personally. Nothing that others do is for you. What others say and do is a projection of their life and point of view, not yours. 

The third agreement is don’t make assumptions. Ask questions and express what you want. Communicate with others as clearly as possible to avoid misunderstandings and drama. 

The last agreement is to always do your best. Always do your utmost, and you will avoid self-judgment and regret. 

When you are in true contact with yourself, you feel that everything is fine and that you lack nothing. Every moment, things happen that you may not be able to control and that you can’t change, but as you are true to yourself and attentive, you can modify your attitude. And by modifying your attitude, you modify your experience of life.

Sometimes we tend to focus our attention and waste our energy on the negative things we encounter in our lives, what we don't have and what we can't do without, not realizing all the good that surrounds us. As we wait for something to happen in life, it passes us by. We are only teenagers for 2,555 days and then we are 20. Life never slows down, live right now. The only way to learn about life is by living, and every moment in it is your moment. Sometimes the moments are messy, sometimes they are beautiful or scary, but they are all yours. Living isn’t easy, and sometimes it can be hard, but if you manage to look past your fears and everyone else’s expectations, you’ll find true happiness. Live each day as if it may be your last on earth. Don’t think twice, we’ve been given a gift called life so don’t blow it. It is time for you to become the main character in your life. One day your life will flash before your eyes, make sure it’s worth watching. 

So, back to when the doctor asked me that question: In the politest way possible, I got up and turned around because it was not the time or place to discuss something so personal. I discussed it with my family and for obvious reasons decided to return to Stanstead. I can’t control the situation, but I can control how I react. I realized that we have ups and downs in life, but there is always a silver lining. Like Papa Luis says, “If life turns its back against you, grab its butt.”