Tracy Anzalone

AP English

Period 7

May 13, 2000


“Embrace Life.” That is the only thing a good friend writes in my senior yearbook. A book that is supposed to be filled with the memories shared throughout our four years of high school and advice and good wishes that they give for the future. But perhaps my best friend doesn’t want to waste the time writing about our memories and experiences that are so fresh in our minds. She just writes two small words, two words that carry with them the meaning and the truth of the world.

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” These few lines written by Robert Frost in his famous and inspirational poem, “The Road Not Taken,” signifies how I feel people should approach life. I believe people have two choices: to either live their lives by walking in the footsteps of others or to leave their own impression on the world. I have chosen to be a pioneer; to trudge through this world not by taking the well-marked road, but to create my own. Every person who has crossed my path can usually describe me by using one word: assertive. My assertiveness has allowed me to create my own path by voicing my opinions. I always stand strong, fighting for everything I believe in, whether it be another individual or a passionate thought. Life, like a winding road, is an unfinished novel; you can never predict what is coming ahead. The obstacles and the decisions that life throws at you are undetectable, but how you go about tackling them makes all the difference. I have learned that even though there are great and wise people in this world, God gave us a unique and individual mind so we can choose our own path; so we can take the road less traveled by.

While traveling along my uncharted path, my winding road took an unexpected turn and taught me a very valuable lesson. My life had settled in Key West, Florida, two years before entering high school. In those two years I had made eternal friendships and had established a known identity allowing the intimidating years of high school to be much more enjoyable. By this time my friends and I were like one. We gave each other advice and shared our opinions on everything from clothes to boys to academics. The realization of how special the bond of friendship we shared had never crossed my mind. The naïve side of me always thought I would be with them, having them to love and to go to when times became rough and my path foggy. I should have known better, for my father is in the Navy. My family had never stayed in one place longer than three years and we had just reached the end of our fourth year in Key West. It was time to move on, but this came as a total surprise. My father had asked the Navy to extend his term to enable me to graduate from Key West High School as my sister had done previously. His request was denied and our new destination was chosen for us. He was needed to run the Flight Surgeon school at NAS Pensacola. In order for his career to flourish, we had to be uprooted again, leaving everything and everyone of importance behind. Before this time, moving was really no big deal because I wasn’t old enough to contribute to meaningful relationships. Upon arriving in Gulf Breeze, the place I was to call home for my final two years of high school, the loneliness I felt upon entering this foreign land was overwhelming. I quickly realized a lesson that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I learned never to take people for granted because life changes with every breath that is taken. My friends’ companionship and love touched my life more than anyone would ever know.

Throughout life many people will touch our lives in both positive and negative ways, but only a few will leave lasting impressions on our characters and on our souls. I feel that one person has shown me what it is to be truly blessed. Blessed with not only material possessions, but with a level head and a loving family that has guided me into taking the road less traveled. This individual has been my best friend. She has allowed me to take care of her when no one else would; to guide her when she was left in the dark with no one to show her the way. It sounds like I would be the one that made the most difference in her life, but this is not so. It was through this love and guidance that I was blessed to be able to share with her, that has taught me many lessons. She has taught me the meaning of true friendship, true hardship, and true faith. She has given me all the virtues that go along with being a true friend while enduring many hardships and only asking for a little faith in return. I hope I have impacted her life as much as she has mine. What amazes me the most about this beautiful individual is that she has never looked at what I have and been jealous or envious. She has only wanted to share in my life and hope that our strengths would rub off on each other. It is true what is said about best friends; we can sit on a porch-swing together, not saying a single word, and walk away as if we both just had the best conversation of our lives. I feel that in the years to come my life will continue to take shape with the realization that I have guided a lost creature through a stage in her life where she needed it the most. Her love and friendship will stay with me always and I will continue to be forever thankful for all the blessings God has graced me with.

For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to become a doctor. Perhaps this aspiration is related to growing up around many doctors in my family. For example, my dad is a physician in the United States Navy, specializing in aerospace medicine. As a young child I remember playing dress-up with his baby-blue scrubs and white lab coat. I would run around the house with his stethoscope around my neck wanting to check everyone’s heartbeat. During his many weekends on call, my family and I would bring dinner to my dad in hopes to spend some time with him. Most of the time he was too busy to eat and would have to run to help the overflowing patients awaiting his care. It was at this point that I realized that I too wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. I too wanted to become a doctor. Recently I have had to make one of the most important decisions of a young person’s life; I had to choose the institution where I would continue my education in the hopes of one day becoming a doctor. With much thought, and still with the idea of taking the road less traveled, I chose the University of Miami over the more familiar University of Florida. With many friends planning to attend UF, the decision was difficult, but different. I feel that I have made the right decision and that it will ensure success in my future plans to attend medical school.

Wow! Forty already…how time flies! Well, here we are sitting in our little kitchenette in Sydney, Australia, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It is a marvelous day and I couldn’t be happier as I blow 41 candles out that are ablaze on top of a melting ice cream cake. The voices that I hear singing happy birthday are dancing in my head as I am overcome with the feeling that I am the luckiest woman alive. At the moment, I don’t think I would change a single thing in my life. I have an extremely wonderful, loving, supporting husband that has given me three enchanting children. The eldest is Adam Jr. He is 11 years old and the finest big brother to his five-year-old twin sisters, Lillian Kathryn and Morgan Fanancy. My adventurous career as a Flight Surgeon in the US Navy has allowed us to live in the most fantastic places; Naples Italy, Key West Florida, and Sydney being amongst my favorites. We have gotten to travel the world and the kids, even though it is hard for them to leave friends, have enjoyed all the cultures that have enriched their lives so far. My job in the Navy has allowed me to have much family time. On the weekends, we try to expose the children to a new activity or a new place. Just yesterday, we all went sailing on the Great Barrier Reef. The kids saw dolphins jumping and immediately thought of grandma and grandpa at home in Gulf Breeze, Florida. The kids miss them, but we get to see them often because they just can’t stand not being able to spoil their precious grandchildren all the time. All I can say about my life is what my father used to say all the time when I was a little girl, “Life is good!”

“Life is good,” and I hope it stays that way. It is a great joy to be able to use these three words this early in my life. The experiences I have ventured through and the people who have touched my life these past 18 years have helped carve who I am today. I hope my character will remain strong and determined to allow me to fulfill my every dream and desire.