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Living to Lose

Jeff Norris

I live for the typos in life, for the erasures, for the dirt, and for the untied shoelaces. I live for the defeats and setbacks; ironically, I live to lose. I count my losses as blessings; these blemishes show my effort to succeed, and they motivate me to achieve more. My life can be defined in many ways. However, no matter how I am defined, I am still motivated by my flaws to excel.

           To a twenty-first? century child, life may be seen as a Microsoft Word document. Fonts, colors, and margin options flourish in the text; if a mistake is made, the writer deletes it and moves on. In life, there are many choices to make, also. Friends, careers, and education options are abundant. However, there is no delete key in life. I cannot erase a mistake or typo I have made. The only way to get past a mistake is to keep typing, or trying new things, in order to get to the end of each sentence. Life may seem to be one big typographical error, but when I make a mistake, it only motivates me to try harder, to complete my life story with a perfect period.

           To the sport-lover's brother, life may appear to be one continuous baseball game. Many players in life strike out by doing drugs and alcohol. I pride myself on hitting the curve balls life slings at me, and never stopping on my run to each base. I know that when I get there, my work will be worth the effort. I live to reach home plate, no matter how many times I trip or fall in the dirt. My brother has always judged how he played in his baseball games by the amount of dirt on his pants; I do the same in every game I play in life. The dirt represents hardships faced during the game, but also the happiness felt after the task is successfully completed.

           To an amateur art student, life is a drawing. Each pencil stroke adds to the overall viewing pleasure of the sketch. Life is not just a sketch, however; it is a masterpiece that I can only enjoy when I step back and look at it in its beautiful entirety. While drawing, my perfectionism comes out, and I usually erase many times. Though I sometimes hate to start again, the eraser marks almost taunt me to succeed. They push me to try harder and to get every pencil impression perfect. When I see the final product, however, the time and energy and many erasures only make it better. In life, I take comfort in the fact that the many erasures I have made only make the end result more magnificent.

           To a cross-country runner, life is a race. While experiencing countless blisters, shin splints, and untied shoelaces, a runner confidently strides to the finish line. When life is viewed as a furious, heart-pounding race, I find myself living for the painful blisters that show my practice; for the shin splints that account for winning races past; and for the untied shoelaces that push me to make up for lost ground. Just as runners in a cross country meet push themselves to their maximum ability, so, too, do I, in every obstacle I meet in life, no matter the hardship that results. In a race, the runner only focuses on the finish line and for the feeling of relief when the meet is over. I also focus on the finish line, and use the misfortunes to push me there.

           To a young adult named Jeff Norris, life is a gift. No day on this earth is guaranteed; therefore, I live each day to its fullest, no matter the consequence. The final masterpiece, finish line, period, and home plate reward me for the time and energy I spend, even when I lose or mess up. My countless eraser marks, untied shoelaces, typos, and dirty pants may seem discouraging at first, but in fact, challenge and inspire me to achieve more.

About the Author (click here) © 2001 Jeff Norris, all rights reserved
 appears here by permission

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