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Hot sauce and a change of heart

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Hot sauce and a change of heart
Posted April 20, 2007

Jillian Peña
Editorial Director

Between the war, terrorist attacks and events like Virginia Tech, it is amazing to me that anyone wants to get out of bed in the morning.

There is so much death and destruction occurring in the world around us and just when we think we are safe we are faced with heart disease, cancer, HIV and AIDS plus the millions of other things that your doctors are just waiting to diagnose you with.

Just the thought of all that is enough to make you sick in itself.

Every now and then, when my alarm clock goes off in the morning I get the urge to pull the covers over my head and shut out the world. It is safe in my bed. My 15 pillows, down comforter and stuffed dinosaur are just what I need to protect me from the harshness that waits for me as soon as I set foot out my door.

But then reality rushes back in and I realize I can’t just lay in my bed all day, I have responsibilities that I have to take care of. So I go about my day-to-day living in this routine I have developed for myself. A mixture of eating, sleeping and working forms what seems to be the bain of my existence.

Evidence of my mortality is all around me, I am forced to read about it in the newspapers, see it on TV and come in direct contact with it as I watch my grandma get sicker and sicker and all I am doing everyday is going to school, doing homework, eating the occasional meal and sleeping.

It doesn’t seem right. Something seems off keel. Then I realized that something is wrong, and it’s me.

Now I don’t mean to be a total downer. The goal of this column is not to depress you because you are forced to think about all the things that suck in the world, but it is just the opposite.

I have had an epiphany and I think it is something that we should all try to change in our lives. No longer am I going to worry about all the things that are wrong or could go wrong in world but I am going to focus on how blessed a life I lead.

It was a conversation that I had with my brother that brought about this sudden change of pace to my life.

I was complaining about my day to him. I was whining about how I was so mad because when I was at lunch a friend tried to throw me a bottle of hot sauce and I didn’t catch it. It hit the ground and shattered in to a million little glass pieces, thus covering me from head to toe in Tapatio.

I was so mad because it had gotten on my clothes and in my hair and in the middle of my rant my brother stopped me and said, “If the worst part of your day is getting a little hot sauce on your shirt then I think you are pretty well off.”

It forced me to stop and think. He’s right. My stained shirt is nothing compared to the devastation around the world. I can’t believe I let something so small upset me so much. What a waste.

From now on I am going to appreciate every breath even if I am covered in hot sauce.

Now when I walk outside I take a deep breath look up at the sky and thank God for all he has given me. The clouds in the sky, the flowers on my door step, the clothes on my back, and the people in my life are all something I need to appreciate more.

I don’t want to live my life stuck in the routine of the everyday, but to take each day as an experience to learn and grow from.

I feel like I sound like a Hallmark card but maybe Hallmark got it right; after all they are a multi-million dollar company.

Jillian Peña, a sophomore communications major, is editorial director of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at