…you never know what you’re gonna get.
If my 2014 had a motto, that old, overused —yet always fun to say in your best Forrest Gump voice—adage would be it.
Actually, when I think about it, that metaphor would have worked beautifully for 2012 and 2013 as well.
Let’s just say that I’ve bitten into a lot of chocolates lately, and happily, they’ve been mostly filled with caramel instead of that disgusting pink creme.
I’ve just spent a few minutes re-reading my old New Year’s posts from the past two years, and I’ve realized that a kind of pattern has taken place in my life: a lovely, unexpected pattern, and one that I never in a million years saw coming.
You see, writing a blog is like keeping a diary—a very public diary—and allows you to have a written transcript of the things in your life that were worth mentioning, while overlooking the things that really aren’t.
That’s what Facebook is for.
The point is, a lot happened in 2014. On the personal side, my older daughter graduated high school and left for college (and I survived), my younger daughter hit puberty full-force (and I survived), and my husband spent over six months “working from home” (and I, surprisingly, survived).
2014 also brought surprising and exciting new opportunities in my professional life, and while there were times when I wasn’t sure I could… I survived.
For that to make a little more sense, here’s a short back story for those of you who might have just boarded this crazy train, and a recap for those of you veterans who’ve been on this ride with me for awhile.
When 2012 began I was bored.
Despite having two degrees in elementary education hanging on my wall, I’d spent the past 16 years at home with my girls; picking up hair bands and Barbie shoes, trying to come up with inventive ways to serve carbohydrates, and getting yelled at because I didn’t know the “new way” to do long division.
Not exactly the kind of elementary education I’d had in mind when I was in college.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved my life. And for many years, it was fulfilling.
But one day, it kind of wasn’t.
One day I looked at myself and wondered what I was doing that was for me.
Sure, my daily trips to Target were satisfying (don’t be ridiculous) but I desperately needed to do something that utilized more of my brain than the part that decided whether or not the popcorn combo was acceptable to order before 10 a.m. … again.
As many of you know, I started a blog.
On a whim.
And a snowball was formed.
This little blog became my job, and telling silly stories about my family and oversharing about my life became my obsession, and somehow it paid off.
When 2013 began I had a goal to write outside my blog. And I did. From being a part of two best selling humor anthologies, to writing for various websites, to becoming e-friends with authors and bloggers I admired, the blog opened many doors for me in late 2012 and throughout 2013.
I sometimes felt like my life was one big game of “Mystery Date” — I never knew what would be behind that big, plastic door at any given moment.
And then I opened the door marked 2014 and found George Clooney.
Because 2014 was the year that an unattainble-seeming dream came true. A year I started doing something that I never in a million, bazillion years imagined I’d ever be doing. A year that changed some priorities and opened my eyes to new possibilities. A year that was filled with hard work, dedication, and perservering even when I was intimidated, stressed, and frankly, scared out of my mind.
Writing for Entertainment Weekly has been not only a highlight of my year, but something that I’d venture to say would be certain to make the list of top accomplishments in my life. Too much? Not when you realize that it all came about via this silly little blog where I post my ridiculous and rambling thoughts, and not when you remember that a mere three New Year’s Eves ago I was bored and had just taken up teaching myself to crochet via YouTube videos to add some purpose and excitement to my life.
And then I made a simple yet rash decision one night, googled “how to start a blog,” and somehow ended up here.
Sure, 2014 has also presented a few of the round, pale pink or white squishy chocolates—the kind you take one bite out of and then immediately put back in the box, looking for a better one. All boxes of chocolate have them. Yet sadly, in life, you can’t buy a box of just caramels.
But I think the lesson I’ve learned over the past few years is this: Like it or not, the box is mixed, and you can’t know what’s inside each piece. Even if you take bite after bite of the cherry or coconut cremes, don’t give up. Keep taking bites and trying new pieces. Because you’ll never hit a caramel if you don’t.
So my unsolicited New Year’s advice is this:
Take a risk.
Do something you’ve always wanted to do but have put off because it seems crazy.
You never know what might happen.
Will you fail? Maybe.
But what if you don’t?
Sure, success isn’t certain. But if you don’t at least try, failure is.
Here’s to 2015, my friends… and to devouring its box of chocolates.
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