“Congratulations, class of 2019!” I threw my graduation cap into the sunset, symbolizing that I was leaving my life as a high school student behind. Tears began to fill my eyes as I looked at the faces of my classmates, remembering all that we had been through together. I visualized the life in front of me, excited for what the future has in store. Six years later, I am about to gradate from Harvard as the valedictorian. My studies were difficult, there have been countless all-nighters pulled preparing for exams, but I would not trade this college experience for the world. I made lifelong friends, who made me laugh until my stomach hurt, who held me up when I was down, and made the hard moments a little more bearable. During my freshman year, I met the love of my life, Gabriel, who is now my fiancé. My family continued to be my rock throughout my time at Harvard, they even bought me a golden retriever puppy named Ollie for graduation! I cannot wait to see what the rest of my life holds. Two years later, I am now the mother of a beautiful baby girl named Addison. Addison is almost a year old, and Ollie is her best friend. My husband is completely in love with our baby as is the rest of our family. When I watch Gabriel sing to Addison as she is drifting off to sleep, with Ollie resting by the fire, my life is complete. Addison is only ten months old, but I am excited for her to make memories and friends in her life as I did. I know that one day she will go off to college, but she will always have a family that loves her. I am excited to see what Addison’s life will look like. Forty years later, I am creaking back and forth in my rocking chair next to Gabriel. We are sitting on the back porch watching the sunset. Addison is married to her high school sweetheart with a baby on the way. I close my eyes, and let the memories I have made consume my thoughts. Looking back, I wouldn’t change anything, except for one decision. On the way to my high school graduation, I looked down at my phone. In the split-second I took my eyes off the road, I hit a semi-truck. I died instantly. I never made it to my high school graduation. I never graduated from Harvard. I never met my husband. Addison was never born. All because I sent one text while driving.
Last year, there was a boy a couple towns over that got in a car accident right before graduation and passed away. Two years before that, a boy who went to my school died in a car accident from texting and driving. Both of these people had bright futures in front of them, but they never got the chance to see what the rest of their lives would hold. I am writing this piece to show others that their lives are so much more than a text message. One text is all it takes to end somebody’s life.