Unidentified Man #1: I believe in honor, faith and service.
Unidentified Woman #1: I believe that a little outrage...
Unidentified Man #2: I believe in freedom of speech.
Unidentified Woman #2: I believe in empathy.
Unidentified Man #3: I believe in truth.
Unidentified Woman #3: I believe in the ingredients of love.
Unidentified Man #4: This I believe.
MELISSA BLOCK, host:
Today's installment of This I Believe comes from Nancy Yucius, a retired special education teacher from Avon, Massachusetts. Her essay comes to us through our newspaper collaborator USA Weekend. Here's our curator, independent producer Jay Allison.
JAY ALLISON reporting:
In the more than 8,000 essays we've received, many express a belief in the gifts of daily life and in the responsibility to use each day well. For Nancy Yucius, this belief is edged with a keen appreciation of the preciousness of time, so keen, in fact, that she wrote her essay in just 20 minutes one morning before beginning her day. Here is Nancy Yucius with her essay for This I Believe.
When I was growing up I remember my mother saying dozens of times, `Live your life so that at the end of it you'll have no regrets.' She sure did. She was her city's first licensed female pilot, took a six-month solo bicycling tour of Europe in 1936, raised three girls and helped my dad build their retirement house. She did all the things she wanted to do and died at peace with her life in 2001 at age 88.
Living my life so I'd have no regrets was a lesson I took in and believed in, too. I saved dimes and quarters while paying my way through college to fund my own three-month European trip. I've gone up in a hot-air balloon, traveled extensively, worked for good causes in my church and taught hundreds of children to read during my 23-plus-year career as a special education teacher in Massachusetts public schools. My husband Dave and I raised three happy, productive children and enjoy our eight grandchildren.
I've been lucky enough to have a supportive husband who has allowed me to live my life as I wanted to live it. He did double duty around the house when I went back to school to get my master's degree, watched nervously as I took a ride on a Harley and silently cringed when I insisted on going parasailing. He worriedly wished me bon voyage several times as I traveled far and wide during summers when he had to work. I never worried, though, because I abide by this life-affirming passage. This I believe. Everyone is dying all of the time. Everyone is also living all of the time. It's all in your perspective which one you're experiencing. Choose wisely. It's so much like my mother's advice, and it's helping me now.
A year ago, unexpectedly, I was diagnosed with colon cancer. Since then, I've had surgeries and several rounds of chemotherapy. Statistics say I have about another year to live. Maybe I do and maybe I'll have more time. No matter. I refuse to let cancer change my philosophy. When I feel well, I pack in as many experiences as I can. I visit friends, travel, laugh, read wonderful novels, play with our grandchildren and cherish those I love. I believe in living my life. At some point, hopefully much later than the doctors predict, I'll feel to sick too enjoy what used to give me pleasure. Then, I hope to do just as my mother did. I'll reminiscence with family and friends about my wonderful life experiences. I'll savor my memories and I'll say to anyone who'll listen, `I believe you should live your life so that at the end of it you will have no regrets.'
ALLISON: Nancy Yucius with her essay for This I Believe. Nancy reports that she is doing well. She and her husband took a cruise in northern Europe this summer, attended a family reunion in Florida in the fall and they're planning a trip to Australia and New Zealand this winter, health permitting.
You can find out how to contribute an essay to our series by visiting our Web site, npr.org, or by calling (202) 408-0300. For This I Believe, I'm Jay Allison.
MICHELE NORRIS (Host): Next Monday on "Morning Edition," a This I Believe essay from classics scholar and part-time farmer Victor Hansen.
BLOCK: You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.