Suddenly your milk gets classy, your orange juice gets refined, and your chocolate milk feels more sophisticated. When you’re a kid you suddenly go from ten years old to thirty and can legally show up at the dinner table with heavily slicked and parted hair, a handkerchief puffing out of your pocket, and cuff links.
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— Email message —
“My name is Arvind and I am in 9th Grade. In the past few months, I’ve gone through hard times in school and out. I am an avid follower of TED and won’t hesitate to say that your talk, which got me into reading your blog, has changed my life. In High School, I’m surrounded by negativity every day, from the omnipresent rumors to the crying and screaming that come with hormones. These feelings of negativity that (no matter what) made it into my mind were only amplified when my parents and I discovered a few months ago that I had a malignant infection spreading through my spine. After four surgeries and no positive outcomes, I began to lose hope. Watching your TED talk gave me a flicker of faith, both in my making it through my health conditions, as well as staying true to myself in High School surrounded by all the mixed feelings around me. After that I began to read your blog; day-after-day I went through it from #1000 down, finding ones that I loved (#526, 629), ones that I would never forget (#566, 546), ones that gave me hope (#340). One day during an appointment with my doctor, he told me that there was a way to get rid of my infection; it involved a more complex surgery as well as a 3-week-long interferon treatment. There was only one problem: its 55% success rate. Sure, the odds were in my favor, but just barely. After days of contemplating (and reading 1000 Awesome Things), I told my parents that I wanted the procedure. The physical and mental pain the infection (and associated ‘medicines’) were causing me was not worth my entire life and all my goals, and though I knew I had a 45% chance of failure staring me down, I proceeded with the surgery without ever looking back. I am glad to say that the surgery was successful; I finished my interferon course last week and the infection has entirely disappeared. I came back to school last week as well, and found the atmosphere completely changed. I no longer felt the negativity pressuring me. None of the rumors or comments being spread around really mattered to me, nor did the social ‘niches’ that inevitably form in High School. I feel like I finally have a grasp on my life- that I can get through whatever hardships it throws my way. Through the storm of my health complications and friend troubles, I found myself. Without 1000 Awesome Things, I would never have had that final push that allowed me to conquer my troubles and continue to live my life with head held high and a smile on my face. Thank you. p.s. The first day I came back into school after my treatment, I received a standing ovation from everyone in my grade. I think that, is truly and entirely, AWESOME!” – Arvind
Photo from: here