Treading Unchartered Territory

Madison Bayless November 7, 2012 Mrs. Adams AP Language Uncharted Territory Researchers think that taking a child out of his or her everyday life will sooner or later affect them badly. Not in my case. Born and raised in California, a life full of smog, rudeness, and pride was all I knew. At the age of ten, I was abruptly moved to Oklahoma: a place the complete opposite of everything I had ever experienced. Because of the move that dramatically altered my life, I am a better person all around. As any ten year old would be, I thought I had the world and my life figured out.

I had my entire life planned out from marriage to my funeral. That plan didn’t include a sudden move to Oklahoma by any means. The plan consisted more of growing up to be the next big movie star, marrying a famous man, and living in Hollywood. When I learned of the move to Oklahoma, I thought my life was destroyed and crumbling in front of my eyes. I felt the sting of losing all of my friends and the life I comfortably lived. I would be leaving a school that I loved and moving to uncharted territory. All of this change would make me a stronger person later in life.

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I learned how to deal with sudden changes as well as lasting changes. Living in Oklahoma, especially in our “want it now” society, taught me to learn to live with changes that one might encounter. Sometimes you can’t control what will happen, but you can control your attitude towards the subject. Being uprooted with such short notice of a convenient, loved life can really put your life into focus. I never realized how thankful I was for the small things. Take green grass for example. The smell of green grass is completely different from brown grass.

Green grass smells full of life while brown grass has a smell full of dryness and death. In Oklahoma, everything is brown. There aren’t a wide variety of trees or plants either. In California, there is an extreme abundance of diversity in plants. Little things like that I am now extremely thankful for. On the other hand, the housing developments in California cover the land like snow in winter; they’re everywhere. It is almost unheard of to find an acre lot for sale in California. Everywhere in California is built upon or landscaped to perfection. In Oklahoma, over 100 acres can be sold at once.

This just reminds me of the open air and land that fills out Oklahoma. Moving at such a young age helped me be thankful for all of the small things. The move from California to Oklahoma, to me, seemed to decrease stress levels by a large amount. Material possessions don’t hold as much value in Oklahoma as they do in California. Everyone in California is obsessed with having Prada, Gucci, Chanel, or any designer brands. Folks in Oklahoma don’t seem to care as much. Your value is placed upon who you are as a person rather than what car or clothes you own and how many square feet your house is.

The stress of not having to buy such things has decreased my stress levels and made me a much better person. (Being stressed out at age ten should also say something about the value on material possessions). Walking down the streets of California consisted of smelling polluted air, a salty sea breeze, and a wide variety of food. You could taste the smog hanging in the air. You can taste the smoke from people, chimneys, and manufacturers and the taste of sunscreen even in the winter. Could life be any unhealthier? In Oklahoma, the air tasted musty with a faint hint of cow manure.

No, it is not the most intriguing smell, but it didn’t harm my health. Instead of feeling like the air weighed twelve ounces, I could breathe in clean, weightless air. The change was amazing. The freshness of the air felt like it made me weightless as well. I felt better every day and woke up with more energy than ever. In my move to Oklahoma from California, my life has taken a 180 degree turn. I have become a better person in numerous ways and this essay could only fit a fraction of those in. My life has drastically changed. I went from being the stressed smog surrounded surfer to the caring and compassionate cowgirl.

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