What Do You Choose?

Dara - Port Jefferson, New York
Entered on December 22, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

When my teacher asked me to write an essay about what I believe in, I will admit I drew a complete blank. What do I believe in? Belief: it seems so concrete, so philosophical; something better left to philosophers like Socrates and Aristotle. Sitting at the cold hard desk of classroom 202, I began to ponder life. I could go the cliché route and write about how love conquers all and what goes around come around; but truthfully I don’t know how strongly I believe these things. However, this past weekend, belief found me when I went into the city to visit my aunt, uncle, and cousin. Upon spending some time with them, I think I’ve finally realized what I do believe in.

We were on the subway and I was sitting on the seat next to my three-year old cousin Sawyor. I was staring out the window in front of me, watching the lights pass by in a blur like shooting stars; there for a moment and gone like they never even existed. I have a habit of not really wanting to look at strangers. Call me crazy, but I’m not too trustworthy of other people, especially in a city like New York. But Sawyor would look at everyone who came on and off and give them a smile or small laugh. What I think surprised me the most, was that a majority of these people smiled back.

Everyday we are bombarded by terrible news of death and destruction. Sometimes it feels like we live in a world trying everything in its power to destroy us. But here was this little girl who, granted was not old enough to realize any of this, but managed to bring out the best in people and even succeeded in procuring a smile in a city known for its frowns.

I think that sometimes a smile, a small joke, or simply a polite gesture is all people need. These small, friendly deeds act as reminders that you are not alone. We are all human beings and sometimes it takes the smallest of us, the most innocent, to bring out the best.

So, right now you may be wondering what exactly it is I believe in; how it is that a little girl and a subway ride could turn me into a Socrates. It’s simple: I believe that people can be good and can be happy; they simply must choose to smile back. So it may not be as profound as something that Aristotle wrote, but it has meaning and significance in my life. Ever since that day, I ask myself a question; one that has a valuable impact on how I live each day: What do I choose?