First Place Winner!
By: Astra B., Age 16, NYC, USA
Description: A nomad tells his sister his philosophy on life and why he chose his lifestyle.
I can’t believe you found me, Kendra. Yes. Today is my birthday. I’m 32. Born again or this is my only birth? That I still haven’t figured that out yet. All I know is that today, this day, is my first birthday. I know that might sound ridiculous or perhaps it is, and I am the crazy one, but I feel it. Today. (pause) What do I feel? (Breathes in, breathes out.) Alive. To live, to exist and to be alive. They all balance on a tightrope struggling to remain steady over the sea of death. Because evidently with any of the three you can and will eventually go into the sea of death. Whether you jump, plummet it, tip or fall into it, is a whole other story though. You see, I know you’re most likely confused right now and to that I say you’re hugging the tight rope as you exist in this world. We all exist from the moment we come into life that’s just how it is, it’s like a chore. First, we don’t ask to be here then BOMB, we’re in the world with all these worldly duties that we have, like to be nice to your neighbors, go to school, grow up and be something, blah blah you know the rest. And on top of that, the world is full of negativity, like poverty, famine, kidnapping, disease. You know it all because you live in the world. But for the earthy humans you realize how cruel this life can be, so you just do your best to get by. It’s not the worst thing to do. It’s what I’ve been doing for 32 years. And you know why so many do it? Because it’s secure. You go to school for donkey years then you graduate. You hear so much about college all your life, so you feel like a failure if you don’t go. So, you go. And after, you follow the river of job, money, family, mistakes, money, good stories, retirement money, money and then some more money, then you have grandkids and die. I mean, I’m not judging you, as I said before, I was going throughout that order too. I hated that tie that I had to clip on to my plain button down shirt each morning, I hated the time it took to press my khaki pants just for them to get a coffee stain from eating breakfast on the go, or having to re-press from all the sitting I was doing. I hated the morning greetings, office space, computer, type, print, fax, break, small talk, back to office, yawn, staring at the clock, print, make mistake, constantly worry for the sake of my job. I’m sorry but even just thinking about it makes me pity him, the old me. I was always just walking to get somewhere, never just to wander off into some cave and get bit by I don’t even wanna know, or throw a rock over a seagull’s head in order to get the piece of bagel it was going to steal from me, or have to drive around to the nearest beach to catch a bath before families started coming in and setting up their volleyball nets. I know what you’re thinking. That’s not a life you would want to live. I know that’s what they all say. You’re all worried about me! Wondering what happened. Why I became such a slack off. But you know what? I don’t care. Maybe it’s an art to not care. Because although you see me as a lunatic, what you don’t know is that most mornings I lay flat on my back playing the stars awake with the strumming of my guitar. And I get to walk on a beach that’s empty just for me, on golden sand freshly washed by night waves. What you don’t know is that one fateful night I went to that bridge over the river of death, and instead of dropping my own life in there, I dropped the trappings of it. I dropped my working papers along with the uniforms made by society to make us all the same clones of work slaves. You don’t know the elope I have with mother nature each time I discover a new piece of her rich beauty in the unimaginable acres she has to unfold just for me. So, I realize that this life I’ve chosen is disappointing and confusing to you. But I have chosen this, and I’m happy. And I hope the best for you. Remember you only live, exist or be alive once. And this birthday boy is going to be ALIVE! I’m glad that sought me out to wish me a happy birthday, Kendra. But quite honestly, every day is my birth-day now.