This I Believe

Lauren - Countryside, Illinois
Entered on September 26, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in choice, or as the dictionary says: the right, power, or opportunity to choose. I like to think of it as being in control of your life, making decisions based on your own opinions, and not letting other people interfere with anything that you want.

Up until about freshman year in high school, I thought God had a plan for everyone’s life, and no matter what kind of “hand” a person was dealt, it wouldn’t matter. They are pinned to destiny.

But suddenly, my opinion began to change. In December of 2005, my mother graduated from college. Normally, after I tell people this, they are confused; confused because they think of it to be uncommon for a 35-year-old woman to just be graduating college. However, graduating at the age of 35 is a million times better than not graduating at all. The truth is, my mother had finished college a while beforehand; only now, she had finally passed the state test to become a court reporter, the dream she’d had for forever. At one point, or maybe even several, my mom thought her goal was impossible to achieve. Having come from a poor family, dealing with many obstacles, and after having four kids as well. But she didn’t. When there was no money left, she found it. When her children needed her, she was still there. When she was exhausted, she hid it. People told her she was crazy, and yes, she could have given up. My mom worked around whatever so-called “destiny” was, and chose to pursue what she wanted.

My mom chose her own path of travel, as did my friend John. Only, his choices didn’t result in the same fortune.

In a matter of a year, my best friend, a kid who was like a brother to me, went from being an A student, baseball player, all-around goofy person, to burn out. Once John got ahold of drugs, they became his new best friend. Everyone, including myself, who questioned this, were now his enemies. It made no sense. John had set plans for his life, and things he wanted to do. Yet at the age of 15, he chose to became an addict, a criminal, and angry. Nobody made him do it, but himself.

Your choices shape who you are. Your life is what you make of it. Destiny can be altered. Of the many rights a person is guaranteed during a lifetime, the power to choose is an easy given.

Living a life of choice seems way more exciting, than living one of destiny. Deciding for yourself may not always be the easiest thing, but is letting others do it for you much easier? Would you let people decide what you do for a living, who you marry, or what kind of music you like?

Sure, we’re only human, so we do the best we can. Perfection shouldn’t be expected.

But I do make sure not to abuse choice.