Saturday, February 18, 2012

Where You're Going

My husband’s college acceptance letter came in the mail last Thursday. When I got home from work, he was standing at the door waiting on me, our three cats winding in and out of his legs, a huge grin on his face. The grin was infectious. For a moment, we just stood in the kitchen, grinning at each other like idiots. After exchanging our hellos, I asked him what in the world was up, and he just smiled and handed me the unopened letter. The words Jacksonville State University were printed as the return address, and I knew immediately that this was a good letter.

He confided to me later that he was a little nervous at first. In his experience, college acceptance packages came in thick envelopes crammed with information about the school: orientation, registration, and financial aid. The thin envelopes were always bad news. But not this time.

We opened the letter together, and the first thing our eyes landed on was the slogan “Where You’re Going” printed on a bumper sticker. I’ll never forget that moment. We both hollered our hoorays, grabbing onto each other in a clumsy, hopping hug. This was the beginning of our future, a first day of the rest of our lives. Thankfully, there are many days like that in life, days that ring out with success and promise and hope.

We still haven’t come down from our college acceptance high. Jeremy has big plans after completing his four-year degree, and while there have been roadblocks and detours along the way, he’s never given up on making it happen.

I’m a firm believer of making dreams come true. For the longest time, when I first graduated college, I had given up on my own dream of becoming a writer. It seemed so out of reach, as I sat at home and searched ad after ad for a freelance writing or editing gig. Most of the ads were far from home, and as a family girl with a good sense of my roots, I wasn’t quite willing to travel far away for a job. The jobs that were within in reach required experience that I just didn’t have. It seemed like to break out in the writing world I only needed a chance, but chances, it turned out, were hard to come by.

Just when I had all but given up on my dream, several years after my college graduation, an opportunity presented itself. The opportunity came in the form of a weekly local column, and to this day, it remains the best gift I have ever received. This column led to another first day of the rest of my life. When I saw my name in print for that first “official” time, I knew that at least part of my dream had finally come true. And from the column, so many more dreams were realized; so many more dreams took flight.

I now have my own blog. Not a huge accomplishment but one that I cherish. Chicken Noodle Gravy provides a chance to connect with my readers and an opportunity to write every day. Since I began this web journal over a year ago, I have seen my own writing improve and grow.

I’ve been published in the fabulous regional magazine West Georgia Living. I’ve actually had the opportunity to work on real freelance assignments, to research and build a story from next to nothing. The entire experience has been amazing.

Dreams are easy to give up on. The older we get, the easier it becomes. But giving up on a dream means we could miss out on so much. I might have missed out on meeting so many new people, on reconnecting with friends from my past, on finally earning a dollar for my words, and so much more. Jeremy might have missed out on that college acceptance letter, that key to our future which will undoubtedly open the door to many dreams to come. 

Where are you going? What dreams do you never give up on in your life? 

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