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I Want to Be Rich in Memories

“My life isn’t perfect, but it does have perfect moments.” ~Unknown

Practice was over, the hot Florida sun was settling in behind the tall bleachers, casting golden rays onto the track. Behind me was my dear school, engulfed in beautiful palm trees. “California Girls” was playing through the speakers, and I was laughing with friends at something a teammate said. There, I realized how truly alive I felt in that moment. It was seemingly picture perfect in every way.

A couple years ago I could only imagine being on this team, going to such a great school, and living in such a beautiful place as sunny Florida.

Growing up as an immigrant child in the United States comes with a lot of uncertainty and oftentimes, worries, as you never know what lies ahead.

But through all the uncertainties stood my beautiful family, always my rock through every situation. And now, standing on the crimson-red track, I understood why my family had sacrificed so much to be here. I maybe would have never gotten to attend an American high school and to participate in a sport I love so much, or to feel as free anywhere else.

After fearing political persecution back in my home country of Kazakhstan, we were blessed to have a new beginning in America.

I realized in that moment how wonderful it is to be living this life and how a seemingly ordinary moment can be taken for granted.

Life is composed of countless moments worth living for, strung together by the seemingly mundane stretches in between.

The moments, when all the chaos freezes, the outside noises die down, and you realize that you are living the dream you could once only pray for, it’s much like a cinematic fragment of a Hollywood movie—everything is still but the beat of your own heart and you feel nothing less than alive.

Could it be that these glimpses often pass by us unnoticed, while we’re busy living in the thresholds of our complex minds and endless woes? As soon as we deal with one of life’s issues, it seems another is ready to spring into our mind leaving us in a rat race for happiness.

We’re always chasing happiness, as if it’s something complicated and hard to find. Just Google books on happiness or success and I guarantee you’ll be occupied for a while.

But happiness isn’t something we can permanently attain. It’s much like a fleeting wind—one moment it’s here, and another, it’s far gone.

It seems to me that everything we do is driven by the desire to be happy. But what are we really looking for?

Does his wish for a new car stem from the desire to have autocracy over a heap of metal, or the desire to feel free as he cruises along the coast reminiscing on his youthful years?

Does she really wish for a new phone, or does she simply desire to feel respected by her peers and a new piece of technology will allow this?

Recently, happiness appears to have been put on a pedestal, as if it is a prize reserved for the chosen ones. But happiness isn’t as elusive as we may think; it’s available to everyone. It’s about the simplest of life’s pleasures. It’s about the moments we live for—of warmth, friendship, and kindness. We just have to recognize and appreciate them.

When I am old and withered, I want to be rich in memories—to have gone out, seen the world, and lived every moment that this life could give.

I want to be rich in memories of sunrises on beaches, long hikes, family dinners, passport stamps, sunsets in New York, beat up sneakers, midnight fireworks, genuine love, endless laugher, sunshine on rainy days, and close friends. This is pure happiness, and these are the moments we live for. Let’s start collecting them now.

About Aida Sarsenova

Aída’s family immigrated to America from Kazakhstan when she was six years old, and she grew up as a first generation American. Today, she attends high school in sunny Florida and dreams of becoming a journalist one day. She’s also a lifeguard at the YMCA, runs cross country and track, and volunteers with the clubs at her school.

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