STAGE OF LIFE       Share Your Story       Coupons       Education Resources
Sign Up Now!

I am Scared of Dying without Having Made an Impact

Joined: 10/28/2012
Posts: 14
There are two different kinds of fear.

The body’s reaction to perceived threat is instinctive, physical, mind-numbing, intensely panicked terror. I won’t deny that I often fall prey to the natural fright of this category; between my fear of spiders, sharks, and asparagus, I think I’m covered.

But there’s also an aching psychological fear that affects me far more profoundly. It is deeply rooted in my actions and decisions, and I am extremely conscious of its influence on my everyday life.

You see, I’m not afraid of messing up on the SATs or being waitlisted by the University of Chicago. I certainly wouldn’t mind getting a 2400, and I’d love to attend a good university, but these things don’t strike me as incredibly important anymore. One must define success on his own, and I have.

To me, success is making an impact. I want to teach and inspire. I want to help rid the world of racism and prejudice. I want to travel around the world to places where natural disasters have wreaked havoc and spark hope in their devastated inhabitants. I want to make people feel like their lives mean something. I want to be a volunteer EMT or be involved with a program like Doctors Without Borders.

But, let’s get real: I want far too much.

Occasionally, I wake up at night and my mind throbs with plans and strategies. Then I shut my eyes for just one moment and I am thrust into a dark, fearful place. “Fear” is not completely accurate; the place I go is more comparable to a live, flesh-eating monster.

My brain is constantly working, creating, concocting. Yet if I achieve none of these propositions, I have not actually affected the world in any significant manner.

I can hope to cure cancer, and I’d love to write a book that changes millions of lives. But meanwhile, my small actions - tutoring someone for an hour, lending out my notes, even doing a load of laundry because my mother is exhausted - help combat my ever-growing fear that I won’t have accomplished anything monumental.

For now, I’ll go on existing. I’ll wake up each morning and go to school. Hopefully, though, the deeds I do and the things I say will impact people in a positive way. I believe I will make more of a difference through practical charity than accolades to my virtue. I can try to immortalize myself by doing thoughtful and influential things that affect the good of the world on a whole.

I don’t need to start by changing the world. I can change my behavior towards other people, until changing the world is the same thing.
Rate this:
Comment by thiegsr

Joined: 11/6/2008
Posts: 366
On behalf of the entire editorial board, I would like to congratulate you for your FEAR essay being chosen as 1 of our 10 essays in the running for 1st place in this month’s writing competition. This is a huge accomplishment since we received over 160 essays this month. Please feel free to share your “runner up” status with the world.

We are in the process of selecting our top three winners. If you are selected as the winner of this month’s competition, we will contact you directly via the email you used for registration.

In the meantime, you can view all the results by clicking on this link:

Thanks for adding your voice to our mission “Changing the World, One Story at a Time”

Rebecca Thiegs Co-Founder and Education Consultant
Posted: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 3:52:45 PM
Rate this:
Comment by thiegsr

Joined: 11/6/2008
Posts: 366
On behalf of the entire editorial board, I would like to congratulate you as being selected as the winner in our October / Fear writing contest. This is a huge honor and you should celebrate your accomplishment. We will be contacting you via your registration email for prize details.

Thanks for adding your voice to our mission “Changing the World, One Story at a Time”

Rebecca Thiegs Co-Founder and Education Consultant
Posted: Monday, November 18, 2013 4:34:04 PM
Rate this:
Comment by Roseneddie

Joined: 10/6/2013
Posts: 8
]This is really good; you deserve to be the winner. Good job; it was really worth reading.
Posted: Friday, November 22, 2013 12:03:46 AM
Rate this:
Comment by Inspired

Joined: 10/28/2012
Posts: 14
Thank you to everyone!
Posted: Sunday, November 24, 2013 11:21:18 PM
Rate this:
Comment by aisyahlyana

Joined: 5/26/2013
Posts: 10
Hey, kudos on your first place! :) I think your essay amazingly voices out exactly what I feel, the kind of psychological fear I have been feeling recently about not making a significant enough contribution in this world. Thanks so much, for finally translating this fear into a perfect sequence of words and meaning that I have never been able to express. :D I am a tad more confident now, that the little acts I do would hopefully make a progressive positive difference to the community. :)
Posted: Monday, December 2, 2013 9:33:21 AM
Rate this:
Comment by Henrickson soares

Joined: 12/6/2013
Posts: 1
Posted: Friday, December 6, 2013 6:55:15 PM
Rate this:
Comment by Brinette

Joined: 3/27/2014
Posts: 7
Wow, your essay is incredible. It is my same biggest fear - living life without contributing anything meaningful. Your essay really deserves it.
Posted: Friday, March 28, 2014 4:40:05 PM
Rate this:

About StageofLife.comAbout Us: is a free blogging and writing community for high school students that allows teens the opportunity to share their personal stories and essays in an online life journal via their free Stage of Life account.  Check out our national Teen Trend Reports, and make sure to explore the writing contests for high school students, inspirational videos for teens, statistics about students, quotes about high school, and other resources about High School here on  Register to start your free writing profile, share an essay about your life, and help us change the world, one story at a time.  If you are a teacher - review our Language Arts Teaching Resources.

Writing Contest Archive - Students

Past Writing Contests and Teen Trend Reports Student Writing Contests

Below you will find all of our past writing contests and teen trend reports from the last four years. Feel free to click through and read the top essay submissions from any given month. is honored to be one of the most-visited writing contests for students in the world.  We love working with teachers, teens, and college students as we celebrate the journey as life-long readers and writers...

2014 Writing Contests

 Stage of Life Mission Statement

 2013 Writing Contests

2012 Writing Contests

2011 Writing Contests

 2010 Writing Contests

Find Us on Facebook      Follow Us on Twitter     Read our Founder's Blog is an education-based, grassroots, non-partisan, free blogging community with a mission support digital literacy by making the world a better place, one story, essay, and blog at a time.  Stage of Life users (teens, college students, Millennials, Gen Y, Gen X, and Baby Boomers) can share and archive their life stories via their Stage of Life profile page.  Specialized content includes literacy resources, free lesson plans, writing prompts for Language Arts teachers, monthly writing contests for high school students (and older generations), student blogging initiatives, blog directories, and financial literacy tools - including Life Rewards® - our free discount program for all Stage of Life users, readers and writers dedicated to providing printable coupons and coupon codes tailored towards each stage of life.

Terms of Service and Privacy