Monday, April 30, 2012

The Payoff of Taking a Chance

I have always been one to play it safe when it comes to making important decisions.  Not the “What should I do this weekend?” kind of decisions, but big decisions like “What should I be when I grow up and how much education will I need for that?”  For as long as I can remember, I have been scared of feeling pigeon-holed in a job or career I couldn’t stand or one that leaves me unable to support my family.  (I mean, choosing the wrong path is not a small mistake!)

Choosing a career path costs time and money, and neither are refundable.  This is not something I felt I could afford to screw up.  Just out of high school, I thought I might want to go into nursing.  I got a job at a hospital while pursuing my general-ed courses.  Thank goodness too, because about two years in, I saw this 10 year old boy who broke his arm skateboarding.  His arm zigzagged in the most unnatural way and I almost got sick.  It was the weirdest thing.  After all I had seen, (blood, guts and mucus) nothing had bothered me yet, but this kid and his twisted bones had me dropping my entire course load for the next semester.

I had no Plan B, so I enlisted in the Air Force until I could figure out my path in life.  My parents' marriage was falling apart and so were my morals as I quickly approached my 21st birthday.  My hope was the military would finish raising me.  And raise me it did, until Plan B dropped itself right into my heart and I felt an inclination to start a family.  Since the military didn't fit with my new family plan, I sought a medical discharge— I was pregnant— and pretended I was a real grown up.

The problem was I still had no career.  I also didn't like the idea of leaving my baby with strangers.  My extensive babysitting experiences led me to explore working in daycare.  After a few years there, one of the parents said to me, "Why not go to school?  Time is going to pass you by no matter what.  Where do you want to be in two years?  Here, with everything unchanged except your age or here with a raise and an associate’s degree in education?  No one can take knowledge away from you."

I thought about the risk involved in picking one degree area.  Scary stuff to think about.  What if I tried, spent all that time and money and found out I wasn't smart enough to teach?  Then I realized, I was already teaching.  I was teaching at daycare and I was teaching my son.  So, I took the chance; going to school could only make me better.  While I was there, I learned a few things about myself:  I am excellent at teaching.  Writing brings pure bliss—even papers for school.  And, hey, I like to read this YA stuff.  Taking this opportunity is how I found my Plan C (C for calling).  Teaching middle school reading and writing just feels natural. 

But I have since learned that taking chances can't apply only to choosing a career path.  Taking chances HAS TO translate into everything you do in life.  Every venture that comes your way has to be honestly explored with self-confidence.  That's where you find happiness.  That's where you find the people who are most like you and who will support you.  

I am taking a new chance now thanks to those wonderful supporters and a little bit of faith in myself.  I'm taking a chance with my writing.  I can be something with it.  I can make a difference.  In taking that gamble, I find myself with a new opportunity: I am becoming a member of the YA Warehouse blog, sharing my experience with you.  Please join me there on Tuesdays.  Share with me in return?  What is your journey?  What dreams are you deferring?  

I will also maintain this least to the level I have so far eh-heh-hem... but on Tuesdays, you will find my posts at YA Warehouse with 3 other fabulous authors.  Please click on the banner below to follow me in both places.

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