Let me tell you a small story. It’s about a 15-year-old girl, freshly into her sophomore year of high school, who just walked into her first journalism class of all time. She heard the mere basics of reporting and what would be asked of her throughout that year in this class. How she got to pitch, write, and publish stories all on her own.
She left class that day passionate about the year to come, and a few months later a dream was formed: She wanted to be a magazine editor in NYC.
Can you figure out who this little story is about?
Now I admit, sometimes that dream changed. There were times I thought I wanted to be a professional dancer or a missionary that traveled the world. But I never fell out of love with my journalism classes, and by the last year of grad school when it was time to truly decide, journalism was always the original dream.
So I took the leap.
Why do I share this little story under this blog entry title? Because it truly is what I’m thankful for.
I am thankful for dreams that make us scared out of our minds, while also giving us the confidence to do what may seem impossible.
The main reason I couldn’t make up my mind in college is the fact that I thought my dream was absolutely insane. There are tens of thousands of journalism students around the world that have the same dream as me. What makes me any different than them? Why would anyone choose me in such a large crowd?
Honestly, I don’t have an answer to that. A lot of it comes down to hard work, who you know, and a little bit of luck. But here’s the thing: Without my dream, I wouldn’t even be close to where I am today. Which is why I’m incredibly thankful for it.
When we don’t give ourselves the opportunity to follow our dreams, we are stifling one of the most important parts of who we are. If we give up on ourselves after the first sign of failure, we are closing doors to opportunities we would have never thought possible.
Sometimes I wonder what would have happened to my life if I had given up on myself during the first round of edits on my very first article at the age of 15. That thing was completely ripped to shreds, and I felt like a frying pan just slapped me in the face. If I had given up in that moment, I would have never applied to journalism schools. I would have never gone to DePaul. And, I would never have been in Chicago…where I met my husband.
And no, I’m not saying you’ll find a husband if you follow your dreams. But I do firmly believe that each and every person on this planet has been created to do a specific task, and when we don’t follow through with that task we are missing who we are truly created to be.
For Oliver, it’s writing music. For me, it’s writing words.
Of course, it is anything but easy. I impatiently waited and applied for 14 months, before and after getting married, for a full-time magazine job. I received rejection after rejection and at many points wanted to give up. But boy, am I thankful I didn’t.
This Thanksgiving, be thankful for the dreams you have. For the thing you were created to do. And go for it—once and for all.