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Life is a hallway
Rachel Glazer is a student at North Hall Middle School. She won the middle school essay contest for both the Gainesville Evening and Hall County Optimist clubs. She is the daughter of Arthur and Teressa Glazer.
In my dream, my life was a hallway. It stretched ahead with doors on either side. Some doors were wide open with bright lights that beckoned me to enter. Some were barely ajar and some were firmly shut and locked.

It did not take much poking around to realize that the locked doors were options for my life that I would never dream of exploring, such as the door with "Petty Thief" scratched across the stained wood. Next to it was "Valedictorian" printed in cursive script. I happily observed that it was wide open and welcoming.

With every entryway I scrutinized, more and more opened to me, but some closed. The Astronaut door threatened to slam shut when I considered passing over the doors labeled "High School Physics" and "Chemistry."

The threshold of "Teenaged Drinking" loomed over me every few feet. One step toward it shut nearly all the doors except "Stripper" and "Premature Death."

To get to the portal of "College Degree," I had to traverse a labyrinth of "Classes" and "Scholarships" and "Required Reading" and "All-Nighters."

Finally, weary from my journey and just starting to wonder if this was the end of the hall, I peered through the gleaming passageway and was astonished by the countless doors still open and awaiting me.

I glanced behind me, expecting to see the mazes of hallways stretching to the beginning of my life, but I was met with a wall. It occurred to me that once I made up my mind, there was no going back. I could only move forward.

The wall was covered in plaques with the names of doorways I had picked, branching off like a family tree. The good choices I made were mounted on shimmering gold plaques. What surprised me was that my bad decisions were on gold plaques as well. Then I realized that the bad choices were just as valuable to me as the good ones. Even if I could not change my mistakes, I could learn from them.

As I continued down the hallway of my life, I grasped that the journey was not so much about closing the doors I did not want to consider but keeping as many open as possible. The closed doors all fell behind me, behind the wall, but the open ones extended on and on before me. It dawned on me that to close potentially good doors would be foolish and by keeping a multitude of portals open I would always have options.

With each choice of my waking life I listen closely for the sound of a door shutting in the future. I think about which doors to keep open and which to nail shut. Life is not quite as simple as a hallway of doors, but then again, it is not that much more complicated either.

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