Take A Chance

In Columns, Life With Laura by Laura Stinson

Suddenly, it’s January. Suddenly, we’re in the year 2004 and the twentieth century is but a distant memory. I, for one, find it odd. Growing up, I always dreamed of being older, but I never really envisioned myself getting here. I thought, “Wow, it’ll be so cool when I can drive or when I can go away to college or get a job.” Suddenly, I’m doing or have done all of those things that I dreamt of but never quite believed in.

That’s what the new year is all about. To make those dreams you don’t quite believe will come true, come true. And you don’t have to wait until January. Every day is a chance for you to have a “new year”. Your life can make a complete turnaround when you least expect. There is no planning for it; there is no resolving to do this or that. It just is.

Take me for example. My life is drastically different from the way it was a year ago. A year ago, I thought I would still be in college at this point, just finishing up my degree, but still in school. Now, I find that it’s been months since I received my diploma and almost a year since I participated in my university’s commencement ceremony.

Things I didn’t think I would ever do, I do and love doing. Audacity, of course, has been a wonderful thing in my life. I was there at the beginning of this life-changing publication and it has really given me a chance to express myself. In October, I started this great internship with a local magazine. I work hard every day researching, writing, proofing and doing other menial tasks. I work hard and I don’t get paid. Sometimes even I can’t believe that I agreed to do a job like this for NO compensation. But, maybe I’m not being monetarily compensated, but I’m gaining so much as far as experience and friends and contacts. I’m about to have my first real byline in a real publication that was established long before I was ever involved. I wake up every morning “early”and am excited about facing the day. Okay, maybe not excited, at least not for about an hour. But I know I’m going to enjoy going to work.

Not only that, but having this internship has given me so much confidence in myself. These wonderful women that I work with continue to give me confidence in myself, in my abilities as a writer, in what I have to offer as a human being. That may be the greatest reward. Every day I go to work and they are genuinely glad I am there. To top it all off, one of the women I work with has a daughter with OI! If that wasn’t a sign, I don’t know what is.

In addition, I start writing a monthly opinion column for my local newspaper this month. I was one of eight people selected by my local newspaper to write a column from a pool of interested writers who entered a contest for aspiring new writers.

A year ago, I don’t believe I would have even considered trying out for this. Between August, when I officially completed school, and now, as I sit here writing, an immense change has taken place within me. It didn’t come about just by graduating or by getting this internship or this column. But it came about nonetheless. I became proactive.

January is a great month for being proactive. It’s a cliche, but I’ll say it anyway: Follow your bliss. Don’t settle for less. I was sending resumes, answering classified ads for jobs that paid but I knew would be hell for me. Ironically, the right one offered no money. It offered nothing more than a chance.

Take those chances. Don’t blow something off simply because you don’t think it fits into your lifestyle. I’m a college graduate with no substantial income and I’m happier than I have ever been in my entire life. I have friends who claim to have found what they’ve always been looking for in their 9-to-5 jobs or their high apartment rents, yet none of them seem to feel quite the way I do.

I’m so glad I didn’t settle. I’m so glad I took a real chance. Several real chances, even though not all of them panned out the way I had hoped. Let 2004 be your year for chances. It doesn’t have to be big or even dangerous. Just something that you think might bring a turning point for your life. Sometimes, we’re so busy looking for what we think will make us happy, we miss true happiness along the way.
If you would like to comment on this topic or any other of my columns please email me at nathasha@audacitymagazine.com with the subject title LAURA. I look forward to hearing from you.