Nathalie Trepagnier
8th Grade Honorable Mention

"The Purpose of Life is a Life of Purpose"

"Everything has been figured out except how to live."
-Jean-Paul Sartre
Sartre must've known what he was talking about. Life is about choices: Choices that affect us like bowling balls hitting pins. Many pins are knocked down because they cannot withstand the heavy ball. As many youths succumb to the weight of drugs, alcohol, and violence, I'm glad to keep a positive outlook on life. However, positive outlooks are not always enough to survive in a concrete jungle where respect is scarce and pressure is great.

"One hundred thousand lemmings can't be wrong."
- Graffito
In fourth grade my best friend's name was Eleanor. The nicest person I'd ever met, she was petite in height, but not in heart. He sister had some tough teen years. Personally, I never knew Eleanor's sister very well. She babysat us once, and she seemed pleasant enough, so you can imagine my surprise when I learned that, at age 16, she committed suicide. Depression is not something that I've experienced, and the thought of suicide, to imagine ending life prematurely, blew my mind. Eleanor was the one to find her dead. How could I comfort a friend whose tragedy is incomparable?

"Keep Breathing."
-Sophie Tucker
On some days it seems as though even this simple task is too much. Whether I've failed the third math test in a row, been dumped by my elementary school friends, or just learned that my grandmother's fight with Alzheimer's has worsened, the term "bad day" runs monotonously through my head. Finding the simple joys in life (like homework letups from teachers who usually pile it on thick) helps me hold my head high and remember that later in life I will forget my disappointments, and eighth grade drama will become an oxymoron.

"There is more to life than increasing its speed."
--Mahatma Gandhi
Americans have interesting morals. The home of Las Vegas and the largest number of devil worshippers, it's no wonder many countries act disdainful when dealing with us. I've always stumbled when I read that some Christians, in order to show their love for God, sell all their belongings and help those in need. The thought of life without my favorite lip-gloss and best-fitting is hard to imagine. Perhaps a life of fulfillment is really a life of basic needs, and not one with frivolous wants.

"Life is what happens while you are making other plans."
--John Lennon
One thing that I want is for life to not simply pass me by. I figure that I'm dealt ona certain number of years in my hand, and I don't want to waste God's goods. To me, the meaning of life is not having one that others approve of, but one that when its time to go, whether it be tomorrow or one hundred years from now, that I feel fulfilled, and satisfying myself is enough work alone.

**Title Quote by Robert Byrne

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