Kids Issue 2017: Making the most of life

SHE MATTERS TO ME: Sand Hill-Venable Elementary School fourth-grader Emily Blanco painted this portrait in the style of visionary artist Minnie Evans, with details that are important to her.
SHE MATTERS TO ME: Sand Hill-Venable Elementary School fourth-grader Emily Blanco painted this portrait in the style of visionary artist Minnie Evans, with details that are important to her.

Editor’s note: This essay is part of Mountain Xpress’ Kids Issue 2017, our annual feature devoted to kids’ art and writing. This year, we asked students to focus on the question “What Matters to Me?”

The most important thing to me in life is using it. Making the most of it. And that sounds really cheesy, but I mean it, I really do. What living life to the fullest looks like to me is not one thing. It’s more of a web, like the food chain in an ecosystem.

For me, it starts at trying new things; what trying new things means to me is learning. Learning about different cultures, learning to cook, speak a different language, learning about yourself along the way and pushing yourself just enough to learn how much more you are capable of then what you first thought.

But that’s not all that trying new things is, of course; trying new things also means going new places, maybe going to a party you told yourself you wouldn’t go to because that’s not your crowd or because you think you aren’t cool enough. Because like I said, all of this is like a chain reaction. Through trying new things, whole other worlds can be opened up to you.

A big thing for me is people. Making new connections with new people. Because the thing about connecting with other people is it inspires you; maybe gives you new views, beliefs, new ideas of what you want to do. Human connections are a pretty spectacular things. In my opinion, one of the most underrated things is actually feeling comfortable around someone and connecting with someone on a deeper level than small talk and polite chitchat.

As humans, we are very dependent on each other, and there is no way of getting around that. We need each other, we need something to connect to, to relate to, to feel some sort of sense of belonging.

Even if you lock yourself away from the outside world, maybe you don’t really talk to anyone, and social situations make your skin itch, chances are you connect to something. We feed off of others’ art, music, philosophies. If you listen to music, you are connecting with whoever put themselves into making it; if you connect with books and literature, that’s you connecting with the author; if you like art, you connect with the artist.

And from those new things, there are new worlds to get lost in. Thousands of adventures are waiting to be opened inside a million unread books, unheard albums and unseen sights. If you never get lost, you never have to find yourself, never have to learn about who you are you’ll never be forced to experience the world around you.

— Maia Rae Morrell
Franklin School of Innovation, ninth grade

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