I believe I hold the power to choose.
Growing up I learned how to survive in our competitive world: in order to survive, I must work hard in college to obtain a job, to make money, and ultimately, to live. Of course, choosing a major was straightforward. If I’m unsure what I’m interested in, I simply choose a major I’m told will secure a job upon graduation.
And so I lived the first three years of college, caught up in a relentless rat race for the best resume, because if I appeared the best on paper, I’d get a job. I was so caught up in the pursuit of good grades, deciding which internship is most prestigious, running the business I started, and appeasing my dwindling relationships, that I forgot to breathe along the way.
One night, when I finally laid down from the day, I caught my breath, and began to wonder how much longer I can continue to run without breathing. At these moments, I remembered that I am a living and breathing human being. I realized how fragile life is.
I questioned when and if I will ever be able to explore, discover, and pursue my passions; at one time my passions were not a separate ideal, destination, or place to discover. I simply lived my passions by doing what made me feel most alive. I questioned, when I will live my own life and choose what is best for me, instead of living based on what others deem is the right way for me to achieve a financially secure future.
From these nights of feeling empty yet alive, I became aware that I have the power to choose. I chose my major. I chose to study all week. I chose to do an internship with that company. However, I can also choose to get out of my major. I can choose to spend the summer with my family. I can choose how to live my life.
Regardless of how much outside advice I receive, I believe I possess the strength and the courage to choose for myself. Sometimes it just takes a few moments to catch my breath and think about what really matters to me. I choose to live again.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.