This I Believe

Angela - Phoenix, Arizona
Entered on May 17, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe I choices. I believe in order for a person to be truly human, they must make choices. Sometimes, we make choices we are sorry for, while other choices we do not regret. As an eighteen-year-old student, many choices have recently been added to my life. Now, I have the choice to vote, smoke, and get a tattoo; but especially, I now have the choice to choose.

Whenever I think of choices, I think of Leo Tolstoy’s novel Anna Karenina. Tolstoy’s heroine faced many choices in her life and she came to regret almost all of them. Anna chooses to leave her husband, son, and life behind for another man. Eventually, she regretted that choice, which is evident by her decision to throw herself in front of a train. As soon as she sees the train speeding toward her, Anna regrets her decision, but it’s too late.

However, the point of Anna Karenina is not that the heroine dies tragically, it is that, for the first time in her life, she is free to choose her actions. If Elizabeth 1 would have chosen to marry, she might not have been such a great influence on English history. If Abraham Lincoln did not choose to support the Revolutionary war, slavery may have continued for much longer. Choices create legacies. However, even the mundane choices have individual meaning.

In my life, my choices have made me who I am. Unlike many people in the world, I am fortunate enough to live in a country that allows me to make my own choices. In high school, I chose to get good grades, and stay on track. I made these choices because I want my future choices to be unlimited. As a friend, I choose to be supportive, so when I need a friend, they will choose to be there for me. While these choices will not make me famous or make people remember me for thousands of years, these choices will define my character. Choices shape every aspect of who we are and who we can become. Our lives do not belong to us if we cannot choose.