At the beginning of the summer I had one goal win a belt buckle.
Easier said than done.
The task required barrel racing for National Barrel Horse Association (NBHA) every Wednesday night, participating in five rodeos and finding sponsorships.
The first rodeo landed on memorial weekend. I canceled a camping trip and missed my sister's seventh birthday. The weekend arrived hot and dusty. The sun burned down the back of my neck and the dust clung to my horse's sticky sweat.
For two long days I wore my cowboy boots that made my feet bleed and used terms like, "That bull just ain't kickin' his darndest today."
Fortunately, I didn't come home empty handed. I had enough points to put me in the running for a belt buckle.
I spent much of June in Colorado for the Future Problem Solving International Conference. I had orchestra once a week, baby-sitting several evenings a week, working during the day, summer ski training in the afternoons, cello lessons and 4-H meetings.
I often hear from my parents, "You are so lucky, I never had that activity available when I was your age."
It's true. Teens have so many opportunities and so many choices it's easy to get carried away.
I realize sometimes I need to prioritize. As much as I'd like to, I can't do everything.
I had really wanted a belt buckle, but what I wanted more was to enjoy one of my last relaxing summers at home.
So, I traded in my bleeding-boots for flip-flops, which I wore while riding my horse with friends in the pastures.
It was a hard decision to make because I've always been stubborn.
My uncle once told me "You can't be the best at everything. It's kind of like picking your battles."
I never listened to him.
It was just something I had to learn on my own.
I'm glad that I did. After all, memories last longer than belt buckles.
This article is the opinion of Maya Johnson. Johnson is a sophomore at Kenai Central High School.
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