A Moment That Changed My Life Essay
A Moment That Changed My Life
This is my creative essay for the Film Program at NYU. The prompt was: “Introduce yourself. Describe an unforgettable event in your life and how it changed your perception of yourself or the view of someone close to you. This event can be dramatic and/or comedic. The assignment may be written as a short story in the first person or as an essay. ” My one fear is that my essay is hard to understand. So any feedback on how it reads to other people would be a huge help. And also any gramatical errors or anything like that that you find would be a help as well.
I’m probably mailing this out today so please, any advice would be much appriciated. Thanks. How did I get here? How did this happen. I sat staring through the open car door as it dangled there in front of my eyes. How had I not seen it before; how had it never caught my eye? It hit me so fast, like a wave that unexpectedly overtakes you as you walk along the beach. “It’s really happening,” I thought to myself. I am no longer a child. I am terrified. And it’s not fear that troubles me, it’s realization. It’s the realization that my life will simply just keeps moving along and I have no say in the matter.
It’s the realization that I no longer have what seems like all the time in the world to figure out what I want to do with that life; what I want to be, what I want to leave behind after I’m gone. It’s finally time for me to stop thinking but rather go out and do the things I’ve dreamed of; the things I’ve only wondered at, baffled at, as I lay alone in my bed at night. It had never felt real until now. I stared at it as it hung there, as it hung unaware of the meaning it gave to me at this moment. Those few seconds stretched for hours, stretched to encompass the span of a lifetime in the flash of a blinking eye.
And that’s what it all now felt like; a blink, a moment, a flash. Is that what it will feel like at the end? A flash? When I was a little girl, my father took me to the fair. He bought me a wristband so that I could go on all of the rides without having to fumble with tickets. He told me, “Darling, you can do anything you want here, just say the word. ” To a young child, hearing those words was like being given the keys to the world; being given complete freedom. To me, freedom was a precious thing. I craved it; desired it above all else.
But you see, in my eyes, freedom was simply having whatever you want, when you want, and not having to do anything you don’t want to get it. In my eyes, freedom was a perfect world, but only for me. Of course over time I was persuaded from these views by opening my eyes to the hard work and responsibility involved in having “freedom. ” As I grew older I earned more privileges. I worked to make my own money, began driving, found myself a wonderful boy, and even began preparing for college; dreaming of going out on my own and making a name for myself in this wide world.
And for a while the illusion was indeed convincing. I allowed myself to believe that over time I would gain more control in my life and that that control would one day become absolute. But it was still just an illusion, a dream; an idea of a perfect world, my perfect world. Eventually I would realize that the one thing which I thought could bring me my absolute freedom is the one thing that will forever hold it back. Time. Time is the one thing which binds everyone. Even the most wealthy, most powerful people in the world will die someday.
Do you think they chose that for themselves? Do you think they wouldn’t change it if they could? You could have the whole world in the palm of your hand, but the reality remains; everyone is born, everyone grows older, and everyone will eventually die. Our time is limited. That can’t be changed, just accepted. So staring, I sat as it hung limply outside the open car door. How had I never seen it before? How had it never caught my eye? How had it all happened so fast? The lines, those small cracks, they hung loosely together over the weakened bone below.
I sat staring, staring at my father’s aged hand that hung at his side as he stood outside the car conversing with someone who, at the moment, held no importance to me. Never before had I noticed those lines, those cracks, those wrinkles which spread out like ripples on the surface of a pond. Never before had I noticed how thin the skin appeared, how stretched, or even how loosely the veins spread underneath. For the first time I was looking at my father; a man in his fifties, hardened by years of ceaseless working.
For the first time in a long time, I was seeing what was actually there and not just what my eyes were telling me to see based off of what they had previously known. For the first time, I realized I was growing up. For the first time, I felt the hold that time has on me. For the first time, I thought “I am almost eighteen years old. What have I done with that time? ” What had I done? I hated the thought. I dreaded the question. That question to which my answer would speak of nothing of importance.
At this time, what troubled me most was not the fact that I – and everyone around me – were getting older. At this time, what troubled me most was the fact that- in all that time of growth- the things which I had done served no greater purpose than to merely entertain; to entertain myself or the requests of others, teachers, my parents. I thought, “Has all this time been wasted? ” Time goes by so fast; faster than even I can sometimes realize. The funny thing is, the older I get, as the years I have left steadily decrease, I can’t help feeling time’s steady increase.
And this only leads me to further wonder; if these eighteen years have gone by so rapidly, as if they were nothing, will it not feel as though tomorrow I will find myself an old woman? Is it so unlikely? Is it so unlikely that, if the lifestyle I have I keep, I will wake up on that day and again have to question if the time I had been given had been squandered away in futile activity? A sad day it would be to lay in remembrance of your life and realize that the days you have spent held no purpose or meaning beyond to merely serve yourself and your own selfish comforts.
A sad day it would be to realize that you have lived your life well and comfortably, yes, but never with purpose. And it was then, for a moment, that I was torn from my thoughts as my father at last settled back into the car and began to drive us home. I looked over at the man who had given me everything; my life, my childhood, and now this much needed revelation. Unbeknown to him, in an instant, he had changed my views of this world and of the life I was leading. In an instant, he had given me what was needed for me to stop waiting around, stop simply thinking of how my life will be, and start living, actually living.
In that moment, in that rough weathered hand, I saw my future. I saw the effects that time would one day have on me. I saw the old age that would one day overtake me. I saw myself upon that final hour, laying, awaiting that final breath. But what I did not see was how I would greet that end. Would it be with peaceful acceptance or mournful detest? The real question is; when that final hour comes, when I take that final breathe, will the death that takes me be taking a soul that has truly lived? Will I have truly lived? I sit, looking at my father’s hand as he steers us home.
I sit, not hoping for, but planning the things I am going to do, the things which I will do, today and tomorrow and all the days after. The things which will, in purpose, serve greater causes than to just simply allow me to go on drifting along in my life. For from now on I will do nothing but dream and create. I will do nothing but share with others my thoughts, my words, my ideas. I will do nothing but strive with all I have to make a difference in, if even in the smallest way, the life of another, the ways of a people, the turning of the world. From now on I will nothing but truly just live.