I wake up. Once again my gas tank’s on E. But I manage to make it to my destination: school.
It’s the beginning of my junior year and winter is coming. I came down with strep throat. And that turned into mono. Once I learned what mono was, my stomach turned. Knowing I would be out of school and sports for months, I was devastated.
By getting sick, I missed more school than I have ever before. Mono set me back for three months. As I sat on my couch, aching with every move I’d make, not being able to breathe and barley being able to walk because my feet were swollen. They felt like they were on fire from all the effects from mono.
It’s like I was frozen in time. But everything around me still moved. I knew I had to be positive to get well. My body was taken over by this virus, but I had perseverance, patience, and faith. I was determined to get caught up in all of my classes and finish out the year. And I did better my second semester than my first semester.
Once I was back on my feet and doing my daily routine, things seemed to fall apart again.
I got the call on December 13, th 2011, from my best friend Alex.
“Natalie, I don’t know if you’re going to be at school today, but I won’t be there. My dad passed away this morning.”
I was speechless.
“I will be right over.”
“No, Natalie. Go to school. I will see you afterwards.”
I didn’t know what to do. I stood there frozen and listened to her. Tears streamed down my face.
That was the first day I was back at school after missing six weeks straight. And losing Alex’s dad was like losing a parent of my own. I considered him a second father and looked to him for advice. But In this time of hardship, I knew I had to be strong for Alex. This horrible incident brought our families closer together. We stood by each other.
Things happen and we don’t know why. But I do know that how I deal with them shows a lot about the kind of person I am. Everything that happened my junior year has shaped me who I am today.
I reflect on my empty gas tank, and realize I can do two things with it: one I can be my own fuel and live up to my full potential. Or two, I can sit back and let the world get the best of me. I choose the first one. And so I live everyday like I have a full tank of gas.
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