Last week I had the privilege of speaking at a PTSA meeting for W.E. Mitchell Middle School. It was great to be there. (Thanks especially to Emily, Paige, and the other students I met–talking to you guys afterward was the highlight of the night for me). Some of the students even wore “magic” glasses in support of Seeing Cinderella.
As I thought about what I wanted to share with the students, I kept coming back to one thought: Don’t wait to pursue your dreams.
I may have started writing seriously at the age of thirty–but I knew almost two decades before that I liked to write. When I was in fifth grade, my class took a field trip to the Orange County Performing Arts Center. Now, I remember almost nothing about the trip itself. What I do remember is the next day when my teacher announced we’d be participating in an in-class essay contest. We were required to write two paragraphs describing the center and our field trip. The top two winning essays were to be published in the school newsletter.
I’m not a competitive person. You never want to have me on your sports team, because I will spend the entire time talking and annoying everyone. But I remember being seized that day with what I would now define as “publication fever.” I was going to beat the rest of my classmates, and win that contest. I spent every single second of the allotted time crafting and polishing my two paragraphs until they were the best they could be.
And guess what? I won! I can’t tell you how great it felt to see my name beneath my article the next month in the school newsletter. But just as important, I discovered I’d actually liked the process of writing the essay itself (even if there was NO WAY I would’ve ever admitted it to my teacher).
I’d like to say I went home that day, and started writing stories, or started keeping a journal. I’d like to say I stepped out and in middle school joined the student newspaper or pursued writing in high school and college, but I can’t. Nope, for reasons that I’ve discussed earlier, I didn’t. It wasn’t until I turned thirty that I finally wised up and decided to go for it.
So, that’s what I found myself telling the students last week. If there’s something you love to do, don’t wait. It’s never too early to start pursuing your dreams.
What about you? Was there (or is there) something you loved to do in middle or high school? Are you pursuing that now?