Clare Longendyke
High School Honorable Mention

What is the meaning of life?

     This is a question almost unanswerable to even the most cultured of teenagers living in this day and age, still too young to understand fully and be able to accept themselves as part of a full circle that runs its own course until the day when that circle finally runs out. A question that, to the average human being, cannot be truthfully answered until the day of their death, for it is not until then that every moment that shapes a person can be completely understood. The meaning of life is to live so that you can discover and complete yourself along the way; so that, by the time your journey through life has been completed, you have not only lived your life to its fullest, but also developed yourself as result.
     Life is a tool that we are free to use in our journey to discover our inner selves. Some people try to squeeze every last drop out of life, believing that it can only be good if you have experienced everything. On the contrary, living life to its fullest does not mean doing everything during your life, but just the opposite, taking everything from the few things you are able to do during life. I learned this in ninth grade when my best friend died of leukemia. My best friend was only given 14 short years to live life, but even that short amount of time was enough for her to discover who she was. Because she lived her life to its fullest, on the day she died, she knew exactly who she was and why she was put on this earth in the first place. She helped show me that the meaning of life is not how much you can do while you are living, but how meaningful you make the few things you can do during the amount of time you are given.
     As I am only 15 years old, I can only just grasp what the meaning of my life will be. I am still young and naïve, but given time, I will learn more that can help me to become the great person I know I was destined to be when I was born. For with time comes age, and with age comes wisdom, and with wisdom comes development, and it is only with development that we can begin to understand the true meaning of life and from that, understand the meaning of our own lives within the larger context.

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