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For me, an umbrella is a symbol of a time when I went outside my comfort zone and became a jellyfish.
When I was little, my biggest aspiration in life was to be a singer. My singing voice was like a mixture of a mortally wounded walrus and a grinding engine.
Even though being a jellyfish wasn’t something that I would normally do, it is now one of my most cherished memories. There are a thousand reasons to say, “Not today” or “Maybe next time.” At some point, there won’t be a next time.
You have to be the jellyfish whenever you get the chance.
Here is the first of many This I Believe essays: Be the Jellyfish An umbrella can be many things.
It can provide shelter in rain, be an elaborate fashion accessory, or help you fly across 1950’s London in style (but only if you’re Mary Poppins).
People with a variety of different backgrounds wrote 350-500 word essays about a single core belief, complete with personal stories about how they realized or were reaffirmed in their belief.
There are a variety of beliefs that are discussed, like: “Always Go to the Funeral” or “Be Cool to the Pizza Dude.” When I asked for example essays from a fellow 9th grade English teacher, she gave me three of her favorite ones. At the end of the podcast, the classroom was at a standstill.
The director had looked past my train wreck of a voice and seen into the depths of my soul. When my students ask me to tell them the absolute craziest things that I did in college, my response is, “I skipped class once, and I wasn’t even sick.” It was nerve wracking to walk into the audition on that fateful day. Looking back, I guess the worst thing that would have happened is that I wouldn’t have--and that would have been okay, too.
I believe that everyone should push themselves to try new things.