This I Believe

Amanda - Auke Bay, Alaska
Entered on March 21, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in living life for the stories each choice I make brings. Where to live, what job to take, which people to let into my life – along with the smaller decisions of the day-to-day – provide an opportunity to create life like that from a book.

I worked as a mobile DJ in high school – traveling to various towns on the weekends to play music for dances and events. In the small town not far from my own, I always noticed an awkward looking guy. He was very thin, had pale skin, a bald head and danced vividly to each song – even when no one else would step onto the dance floor. A few days before going to a gig, I told a friend that I wanted to ask this mystery guy to my prom. As ridiculous as it sounded, I couldn’t get the concept out of my head, so I just did it. I approached this strange guy, asked him to my prom in my hometown and then found out his name was Brad. My parents and my friends thought I was crazy when I told them the story in detail. I think everyone was a bit surprised when he actually showed up for prom that April night. It was that evening Brad went from being an oddity – another one of my crazy stories – to a beloved friend to many. It wasn’t until Brad died of a brain aneurism four years later, at the age of 20, that I understood the importance of having that story to tell. Had I not decided to pursue this idea of randomly asking Brad to prom, he would have remained a stranger among my circle of friends, who cherished him dearly.

It was then that I started looking at choices as an opportunity for a story. Everyday things were a choice of which outcome would make the best story. Maybe that is why I studied journalism in college – so that I could tell the stories of others stories. I grew up in the rural Oklahoma Panhandle. After I graduated from college, I was itching to start a new chapter in my life with stories unlike anything I had previously experienced. So it didn’t take much contemplation when I heard about a job as the editor of a weekly newspaper in Alaska. I packed my vehicle to the brim, drove across the country and spent three days on a ferryboat before arriving in Juneau. My friends and family were not a bit surprised with my decision to move and they listen tentatively to each story I find in this amazing new place.

Taking this leap of faith in relocating also has introduced me wonderful people who have amazing stories of their own – stories about their lives that enrich my own. Because I believe the choices I make are not simply decisions of the moment, but the stories of my life.