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Eleanor Roosevelt

I have solved the mystery!  Clearly, I had not seen Talledega Nights, or I would have known the fictional quote attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt at the start of the movie was “America is all about speed. Hot, nasty, bad-ass speed”, thus all the strange searches that have led to my blog.

Here, though, is a genuine ER quote.  I have been thinking lots today about choices, and how they reflect character, after friends have recently made some exceptionally poor choices.  Roosevelt’s quote served to distill an idea that was bubbling in my mind:

One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes. In stopping to think through the meaning of what I have learned, there is much that I believe intensely, much I am unsure of. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And, the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.”

– Foreword, “You Learn by Living”, Eleanor Roosevelt, 1960.

I do believe this to be true.  While we are all certainly constrained by circumstances, the choices we make reflect our values, our maturity, our character.  It is easy to mourn a poor choice made by another.  It’s more difficult, I think, to accept that perhaps that choice is a reflection of aspects their character that we either were not aware of, or willfully chose to ignore.  Decisions are not thrust upon us: problems are, but our choices are all our own.

*Edit* I just read another quote, which made me rather ashamed of judging my friends.  Gaah, this is quite confusing.

A mature person is one who does not think only in absolutes, who is able to be objective even when deeply stirred emotionally, who has learned that there is both good and bad in all people and all things, and who walks humbly and deals charitably with the circumstances of life, knowing that in this world no one is all-knowing and therefore all of us need both love and charity.

– Eleanor Roosevelt

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