“Well at least the seats are comfortable,” I thought as the engine started up and we pulled out of the driveway. Yes, it was another family trip, another family ROADTRIP. It was the dreaded word that gave me a headache and put a disgruntled frown on my face. The trip to New York had not been my friend, and neither had the one to Seattle. Why would Colorado be any different? It was the same family, the same van and the same “Don’t stop until you get there.” mentality that kept my stomach grumbling and my bladder aching (Thanks dad, you’re the best). But as I was soon to find out, this was not going to be the same dysfunctional, disagreeable trip as all those in the past had been. It was Monument, Colorado. (http://www.city-data.com/city/Monument-Colorado.html)
I will never forget, opening my eyes at sunrise (yes, we really did drive all night long) and seeing the peaks of the Rockies, with the orange glow of morning pouring all over them. I have seen many things in my life; from Disneyworld to the Salmon markets in Seattle, and I had never been impressed. I was always that highly strung, grumpy and cantankerous teen that no one really liked to be around (I was given the nickname “the curmudgeon” by my family). I was the ultimate pro at being a pessimist, and I absolutely cringed at the thought of family vacations, but never in my life had I seen the mountains, or the lessons they were to teach me.
Even though I was not exactly elated about spending Thanksgiving break with my family ( at my cousins house, my uncle worked for the Air Force Academy near Monument) or the long car ride with two younger sisters and an aching bladder, I ceased to care at that moment as I opened my eyes. And later, standing on top of colossal rocks, or going on hikes on the mountains, I made an important realization; life is what you make of it. With cousins running around screaming, my mother nagging me to smile for pictures and the old grumpy curmudgeon-like attitude trying to burst out of my skull through my mouth, for the first time, I decided to let it go. Instead, of mumbling under my breath as everyone was accustomed to, I simply tried to keep that smile on my face, and to keep pushing through the day, until I could go up into those hilly mountains and climb to my heart’s content.
Everyday in life, there are situations where I could slip back into my old routine, and everyday I am tempted to do so. With the pressures of college decisions always looming over my head, homework always due the next day and the daily high school drama, I have every opportunity to be an ungrateful little tyrant. But I don’t take them. Life is more than just a 1,000 mile journey and it takes strength and effort to stay positive, but it is the product of that exertion that counts. It is when one struggles that they will come to realize what they do have and appreciate those things, instead of moping around about what they don’t. I live everyday leaving my worries at the bottom; persisting, until I reach the top of the mountain and find the beauty in life.
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