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This is my last chance in life, and I will have to make the best of it - by D.Z.P.

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Life is not always perfect; it is what you make of it

'N' Level student-inmate from institution TM1

2nd Prize

“Life is not always perfect; it is what you make of it.”

I totally agree with this statement as my life was not always perfect, and yet I made the worst of it. In the past, I was so involved in living a life of crime, it was like I was addicted to it. Drugs and gangs you name it, I have most probably done it. As a young teen, I got into lots of trouble within my school and, and with the law. It was handling drugs on the streets, involved in gang fights and it all that eventually led to my first arrest at the age 15. Back then, I always felt like the vicissitudes of life led me to such a path.

However, as Eminem once said, "nobody knows me, I am cold. Walked down this road all alone. It is no one’s fault, but my own. It is the path I have chosen to go". Life is not laid out for us on a golden platter. How we live our life depends on the choices we make. The choices I have made led me to life behind bars more than once. It is always said that the first time can be deemed as a mistake. The second time, still maybe so.  The third time onwards, however, is based on your very own choices. Knowing the outcome, we still tend carry on the ways. Only to end up regretting once we are placed in cuffs. But as Robert Frost once said “In three words I can sum up everything I have learnt about life: it goes on."

I always chose the easy way out. Whichever route led to the fastest cash; there I will be trying to can' it. Despite whatever the risks and factors involved; it did not matter as I loved seeking for thrills. Being dug addict, I always had to find ways to feed my habit and the lifestyle I wanted. It may seem awesome at first, especially since being so young at that point of time and yet living the high life on the fast lane. However, as the days went by, I started to do become complacent and even adopted the "don't care, don't bother” attitude.

Before I knew it, my ‘friends', whom I hung out with and had lived for, went on to stab me in the back and gold me out to the authorities. That would be my first major mistake. Thankfully, the authorities dropped the trafficking charge and as I was underaged and was incarcerated only for consumption. This was a major case for me as it involved drugs compared to my prior charges which were mostly for fighting, and merely got warnings for. This, however, was 8 years ago. Since then, I have been in and out 3 times and am currently serving for trafficking.

Ironically, the sentence for me however is a minor game changer. Being the longest of my sentences, I truly felt the pain this time. I guess it is due to the fact that I am slightly older now, and my thinking have been altered. Even though I am still young, I no longer food to want to make a name for myself or be involved now. I have gone through a lot in my life, with only my mother taking care of me single-handedly until my stepdad came along. When I was younger, I blamed life for what I had to go through. I blamed the ones who cared for me the most. But never once did I blame myself. Yes, life we were growing up. But I did not have to succumb to the negativity all around me. I could have made up for so much more of life than I had, instead I used my problems as an excuse to live the high life. But not anymore...

This time I want to change. I want to let go of my past and have a better future. I know I have the potential to do better. To make up to my bad ones for all the heartache I have put them through. Like Peter Drucker once said the best way to predict the future is to create it." And here I am, taking baby steps to create a better future for my loved ones. Most importantly, to create a better future for myself. By which is why on my first day back within these walls, I made up my mind to pursue my studies.

On the outside, I can never do so even though I wanted to, I knew I could never commit. Right now, it is my time. I am currently pursuing my GCE N levels and hope to carry on with O levels before my release. Upon which, I hope to be allowed the option to apply for a diploma as I slowly reintegrate back into society. Back into the arms of my loved ones, the likes of my family and best friend who have been there for me from way before my first time in prison. If I choose to be stupid and go back to a life of crime after my release, I know for sure that I will love everyone I love. They have cursed me many times now, and I cannot afford to lose them. This is my last chance in life, and I will have to make the best of it.

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