Note: I took a chance and submitted the following required two-minute entry in the contest to speak at my recent Bay Path graduation. I was not selected, but am proud of what I wrote and want to share it – a perk of having a blog!
When I received the email about the Speaker competition, I couldn’t help but smile, remembering when our son Donald was a senior in high school. He came home one day excited as he shared that any member of the graduating class could submit a speech and possibly be selected, but he was nervous. “It would be a long shot,” I remember him saying. “I don’t know if I’d be selected.” Always my kids’ biggest cheerleader, I said, “Donald, that is an opportunity that not many people have. Why wonder? Go ahead, submit a speech. You could be selected.”
Several drafts and timed rehearsals later, he submitted his speech. We were all proud. He took a chance, tried something that was a bit uncomfortable, and then put in the time to make it his best. We were all thrilled, when not only was he selected, but a large photo of him standing at the podium was featured in the newspaper.
Taking a chance, trying things that are a bit uncomfortable, and putting in the time to do your best—isn’t that what makes for a life well lived?
Going back to school at age 54 is not the norm, but completing a master’s degree was on my bucket list. I started an MBA in my twenties—then dropped out. There were challenges that got in the way: partying as a single girl, marriage and motherhood, a busy career. In 2016, driving on Rt. 91, I noticed a billboard featuring the Creative Nonfiction MFA. Yes! I felt it in my heart.
Along the way, there were new challenges. A very full, full-time job. A cancer diagnosis and chemotherapy. A pandemic. It took almost six years, but I did it.
I took a chance. It was often uncomfortable. But I always strived to do my best. Isn’t that what makes for a life well lived?
My message is for every one of you. When I applied, I yearned to be part of a writer’s world. In my application, I wrote, “I want to be someone who reads daily. Who writes daily. And not just to be more effective in my job.”
I am that person now. I’m a reader. I’m a writer. My thesis is entitled, “A Tribal Life with my Running Buddies: Evolution of a Middle-Aged Badass.” I write a blog. I have the tools I need to expand my marketing career into publishing.
You don’t go back to school after 32 years without having people you can lean on. I have my tribe: my family and friends, my running buddies, and now, my Bay Path community. You all support me, and with that support, I’m prepared for whatever challenges lie ahead. I am your support too.
What’s on your bucket list? What will create your life well lived?