Growing Up, Staying Young

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Growing Up, Staying Young I had trouble sleeping that night. The peaceful, rhythmic breathing of my younger sister across the room could not calm me as I lay under the covers in the dark, listening for the heavy footsteps of an elderly man sneaking through the downstairs floor of my house. With one hand firmly choking Red Blankie, I reached with the other to turn the alarm clock on my bedstand toward me. The fluorescent red digits whispered 12:03 in the still, black room. Perhaps he will come soon. Delicate tingles danced up my arms, as I froze like a nervous cat, ears up, ready and alert. I rehearsed the carefully planned sequence of events in my head. A suspicious and unfamiliar sound from the living room would be my signal -- a wet snow boot hitting the carpet, a clumsy hand inadvertently knocking over a dish on the fireplace, or a rustle of papers. Carefully, I would slide out of my flowered bed without waking my sleeping sister, tiptoe gently across the bedroom floor out into the chilly hall, and down the first five stairs, avoiding the creaky spots in the floor along the way. There, peering around the corner of the wall that ended at the fifth stair, I would at last behold the mysterious man whom no one in my family -- not Mommy, not Daddy, and of course not little Ming -- had ever seen. The bearded man would be dressed in a red suit with white trim. His name was Santa Claus. Mommy and Daddy had told me that Santa and his nine reindeer wouldn't come to put presents under the Christmas tree until after I had fallen asleep, but of course, they didn't know about my brilliant plan to catch the old man in the act. Squinting under the meager moonlight that peered in through my bedroom window, I forced my... ... middle of paper ... ...power to believe in other abstractions besides the white-bearded man -- entities such as "fate" or "true love" that may seem every bit as fanciful. I also have the ability to imagine a society that does not use bombs to solve disagreements and can instead trust in reason and diplomacy. The idealistic notion that one person can make a difference in the world motivates me everyday in my quest to be a doctor. As a child, I read the story of Peter Pan, an adolescent boy who refused to grow up and thus stayed in Never Never Land, a magical place where he wouldn't age and could spend his days in spectacular adventures. I hope that as I grow another year older, I can always keep a little Peter Pan in my spirit, that I can see a story in even the most simple things around me, and that I will continue, every Christmas Eve, to leave cookies and milk out for Santa Claus.
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