This I Believe

Liza - La Crosse, Wisconsin
Entered on May 3, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

How does this hat look with my face? Do I want to be a Minnesota Gopher or a Wisconsin Badger? Is that the job I really want? Where am I going to live? What would my Mom say?… In the end, it’s all about choices: what’s for breakfast, what to live for. But if you ask me, the important thing isn’t the decision itself, but rather for whom you are deciding. And, undoubtedly, I say this person should be yourself.

“Seek and you will find. Don’t be willing to accept an ordinary life.” I heard this quote by Salle Merrill Redfield and I am reminded of it frequently. I really don’t want to live the “ordinary” life. Therefore, I decided that the surest way to avoid this is through choices. I truly believe in choice. I also believe in choosing to do things for no other reason than that they will hopefully now, or eventually, create happiness. Although I don’t have a complete list of all things to make me everlastingly happy, one sure key to happiness for me will be in the assurance of knowing that my life is the product of my choices and my desires, not anyone else’s.

In a world where fear is such a key factor in decisions, it is easy to see why so often we just let other people choose for us. Common fears of rejection, discrimination, regret, and failure all contaminate the air around the globe. I can’t say those same fears don’t pass through my mind daily, but I don’t want to be scared of those things. I don’t want to walk around everyday fearful of the future or the peril of my decisions. There comes a point where it becomes necessary to do something: either make some decisions, or else be at the mercy of whoever grabs the steering wheel for you. Personally I would like to steer my own destiny. It is my hope that if each morning I can wake up as an individual, with thoughts, opinions, and thus, my own decisions, in the end I should have nothing to regret.

I know I believe in choice, but actually, I’m not even sure what else I really do believe in; if it is love, if it is success and money, or maybe the eternal existence of Elvis? If I can’t be sure about any of the other things, then most of all, I just want to believe in myself. I want to swear by whatever I find passion for: the stars, my paintbrush, or courage. My goal is to have enough faith in myself make the decisions which ultimately shape my life into who I want to be. I choose, because in the end, it is my life. In fact, maybe Ferris Bueller thought the same way. If you recall the brilliant movie, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” you might also recall his famous words of wisdom: “A person should not believe in an “-ism,” he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, ‘I don’t believe in Beatles, I just believe in me.’ ”

So instead of being scared, instead of dreading the consequences of my choices….Today I am going to choose. I am going to wear that ugly hat I love. I am going to travel, live the big city and the countryside. I will live color and live music. I will have faith in myself above all else. I choose to be passionate. I choose to be brave. I will choose to save myself.

“Come to the edge, He said.

They said: We are afraid.

Come to the edge, He said.

They came. He pushed them,

And they flew . . .”

–Guillaume Apollinaire