Achieving Me

Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud, and how does it relate to the person you are?

“There aren’t any more chairs. Just pull one up!”

It was a crowded lunch hour as usual at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital. I volunteered there during the summers and each day encountered the same problem – finding enough space to eat. Doctors, researchers, military officers, and veterans alike all sat spaced out through the cafeteria. For a group of six high school students, it was hard to find a table to eat by ourselves.

I saw an old man eating alone at a table with three empty chairs surrounding him. I walked up to his table wondering if I could take two so that maybe, if others came down to eat, they could sit at our table too.

“Hi sir, how are you doing? Could I borrow a couple of these chairs?” I asked.

“Well I’m doing pretty okay. You know, life just comes and goes here,” he replied.

The response caught me off guard. I had only asked how he was doing as a formality, but the way he answered, saying the life just came and went, struck me. This man wasn’t okay. Maybe he wasn’t suffering from clinical depression, but he certainly wasn’t enjoying life as it should be. I looked back at my friends, who by this time had already started to eat.

“Umm, is anybody sitting here with you?”

“You think any of these people want to...

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