Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?
Garbed in wrinkled footie pajamas, my younger self would sit in front of the television screen for hours watching the misadventures of the lovable clown Loonette and her silent yet sassy rag doll Molly in the show, “The Big Comfy Couch.” The show’s premise is that one can experience an exciting life without ever having to leave the couch—an idea that left a lasting impression on me. When faced with the possibility of failure, I am tempted to bury myself in a mountain of cushions and watch 1980’s sitcom reruns. I regress into a state in which I am untroubled and easily distracted; I return to my childhood on a big comfy couch. Although sitting in front of a television provides me with immediate satisfaction, it also serves as a reminder never to settle. Contrary to the theme song of “The Big Comfy Couch,” life is not all about clowning around.
I carry my couch with me wherever I go. When faced with adversity, I find the most convenient alternative is to fall back into my couch and allow the plot of life to develop without my active involvement. “The Big Comfy Couch” taught me that sitting on the sidelines is acceptable as long as one is happy; however, it took my participation in student council to open my eyes to the destructive consequences of this “comfortable” mentality. Since 9th grade, I have served as a student council class representative. Traditionally the representatives serve as the worker-bees of the student government hive in which ideas were developed by student body officers and delivered to the representatives for implementation. This hierarchy of power was even evident in the physical division of the student council classrooms; the officers were located on the top floor of the school whereas the representatives were located on the ground floor. Class representatives were forced to sit on the student council sofa and watch reruns of “The Fabulous Lifestyles of the ASB Officers,” and I was content with my spot on the sofa. In the midst of a commercial break, however, I realized why I had joined the council; my role was not to simply make posters for the next spirit day but to express my voice on behalf of the students I represented. I found that I was excluded from the decisions of the council because I resided in classroom 119 as opposed to 324. This conflict opened my eyes to the years I had wasted being satisfied sitting on the sidelines, and I realized I could either continue to sit on the couch watching others live out their lives or I could turn off the television and change my own.
I took it upon myself to eliminate the divisions between the representatives and officers. After organizing multiple meetings between the representatives as well asdrafting several revised resolutions of the council’s constitution, my efforts resulted in a more evenly distributed authority within the student council body. For the first time in the school’s history, the student council classrooms now posses an equal number of representatives and officers, and the roles of representatives have been greatly expanded.Though at first fearful of leaving my place of contentment, I have gained moresatisfaction by getting off of the couch than by staying glued to it. As a child, I idolized Loonette because she appeared to gain everything she wanted without ever having to leave her couch; however, not even television characters can escape the cruel hands of fate. In 2006, Loonette and Molly were diagnosed with the big “C” known as cancellation. Sitting happily on a sofa was not enough, and this is a lesson I have come to appreciate as I have matured. As I change the channel to begin a new phase of my life, I hope to never settle for the comfort of a big comfy couch.
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