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Volume 16, Number 1
January 20, 2009

opinion

Also in this section:
Editorials: Gómez was right to catch Sáez; and The legal headaches of climate change
Sirias, Taking the walk
Gilmour, Oranges
Lehman, The gringo lawyer's tale
Leis, The wrong way to power
Jackson, Election rule changes
Grant, Haiti: the passengers of memory
Alvares de Azevedo, Brazil's Haitian cross
Feinsilver, Haitian crisis a chance to improve US-Cuban ties
Esquivel, Bleak prospects for Haiti's recovery
Amnesty International, Protection of human rights must accompany relief efforts in Haiti
Weisbrot, Media battles in Latin America not about free speech
Reporters Without Borders, Mexican radio journalist abducted and slain
Stimson, China can outgoogle Google
Committee to Protect Journalists, China hackers hit media companies and activists online
Oilwatch, It pays to keep the oil in the ground
Chan, Mixed progress toward world health goals
Gutman, Saint Pius XII?
Lerner, Obama wouldn't listen to warnings
Letters to the editor

Oranges
by Schyler Gilmour

Gliding. As I look forward into the endless blue possibility, I feel an inexplicable calm flowing through me. I am underwater. For a fleeting moment, at the beginning, I'm flying.

It's the start of a triathlon. It's hard to believe in these first few moments that soon I will be in the fight of my life. As I come up for my first breath, I switch into competition mode. My mind goes completely blank. I stop hearing or feeling anything except the water around me. The rest of the competition passes in a blur. I can't honestly tell you what goes through my mind in those moments where I'm gasping for breath and jumping on my bike for a 16 km ride, or throwing off my helmet and sprinting out onto the track, because I don't know myself.

As I round the final corner and come to the home stretch, I say to myself "Okay kid, it's now or never." With my last ounce of strength, I sprint to the finish line. I run a good 10 meters beyond the line before I stop. As I realize what just happened, a wonderful feeling of accomplishment creeps over me. I can't help but smile. I have just completed a triathlon, one of the most demanding challenges a fifteen-year-old can put herself through. You have no idea how good that makes me feel. It's the equivalent of discovering you've just been elected President of the United States.

I smile a lot. About a thousand times per day to be exact. To me, there is just too much in the world to be happy about to waste time complaining. And, speaking of wasting time, I never seem to have enough. I've had so many aspirations. I hate closing doors, and so I find it difficult to let go of the idea of being able to do everything. I even planned what I would be when I grew up. The original idea was that I would squeeze at least five occupations into the week and two or more on the weekends. I would've loved to have been an opera singer, a doctor, and a pizza-delivery girl. I was thinking I would join the Foreign Service as well so I would try to squeeze that in between astronaut training and music lessons. This would be before becoming a horse trainer and going to the Olympics. I would then go to law school and become a judge. After that, I would learn about forensics and become a scientist. Later, I would be elected the first female President of the United States and then become an author once I had served my two terms and straightened the country out. I of course hoped to do all of this before I turned 35, afterward I could settle down and have a family.

This doesn't mean I'm never satisfied. On the contrary, I'm ecstatic to be alive. I only wish I had the time to experience everything life has to offer. But I enjoy what I'm doing here and now. I really do live by the old saying, Carpe Diem.

So now you understand that my mind can be a rather hectic place. I don't seem so crazy on the surface (most of the time). I can blend into the background easily but I don't hide. My headmistress in Australia paid me the most wonderful compliment I have ever received: "You never seek to draw attention to yourself, but you are always noticed." This woman was the headmistress of 2000 girls and, out of everyone, she said that about me. I was walking on sunshine all the way home.

Gliding again. It's the beginning of triathlon practice. I had an orange today. It was sunny all day. My brother is visiting us. I just had a great day at school and I won first place in the triathlon yesterday. I don't have much homework and there is a piece of chocolate cake waiting for me at home.

Life doesn't get any better than this.


Schyler Gilmour is a junior at Balboa Academy.




Also in this section:
Editorials: Gómez was right to catch Sáez; and The legal headaches of climate change
Sirias, Taking the walk
Gilmour, Oranges
Lehman, The gringo lawyer's tale
Leis, The wrong way to power
Jackson, Election rule changes
Grant, Haiti: the passengers of memory
Alvares de Azevedo, Brazil's Haitian cross
Feinsilver, Haitian crisis a chance to improve US-Cuban ties
Esquivel, Bleak prospects for Haiti's recovery
Amnesty International, Protection of human rights must accompany relief efforts in Haiti
Weisbrot, Media battles in Latin America not about free speech
Reporters Without Borders, Mexican radio journalist abducted and slain
Stimson, China can outgoogle Google
Committee to Protect Journalists, China hackers hit media companies and activists online
Oilwatch, It pays to keep the oil in the ground
Chan, Mixed progress toward world health goals
Gutman, Saint Pius XII?
Lerner, Obama wouldn't listen to warnings
Letters to the editor

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