While I was running, I had a random thought, one that continued with me long after I finished. I am a summation of choices. Let me illustrate my meaning with a few examples.

My parents moved to Denver in the late eighties for a job. The economy crashed and my dad’s job disappeared. My father had a bachelor’s degree in business, but people were not hiring. So, my parents worked odd jobs to make ends meet. My dad worked the closing shift at McDonald’s and arose four hours later to deliver papers with my mother and us kids. During the day, he spent his time pounding the pavement looking for a job. My mother worked part-time as a bookkeeper to help pay the rent and keep food on the table. It was desperate times for us. Because of this, my mother told me that if I wanted to go to college, I would need a scholarship. Their hardship had already proven to me that I needed a degree that would allow me to work no matter the economy. In the sixth grade, I had decided that the only way to earn a decent living was to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Fast forward, to my senior year in college. I had been accepted to Nursing School, but because of the high amount of applicants, they wanted me to wait a year. I’d already maxed out my student loan amount and I was working three jobs to help make ends meet. I had a decision to make, I could wait a year or graduate with a degree in a different area. With much contemplation and trepidation, I decided to graduate. Part of the requirements for my new degree required a mini-internship. At my internship, I met and dated my husband.

After college, I moved on to work in Finance and worked my way up into management. A couple of years into my position, we decided to try to have our first child. I became pregnant right away and I struggled with the decision to go back to work or stay home. On the very last day of my maternity leave, I decided to stay home. Nine years later, and two more children, I am still a stay-at-home mom. I’ve learned that for me to feel challenged, I need to have a life outside of my children. That decision led me to my greatest love and frustration–writing. Along with several other interests, it completes me and I have chosen to write until the day I die.

My life and who I am are because of all the different roads I went down. I wouldn’t change one decision because I like my life and I like me. I am a summation of my choices.

I’ve realized that my characters are also a summation of their choices and I hope that comes out in my writing. Do you believe you or your characters are a summation of choices? Why?