–Write about a piece of advice someone gave you that you’ve never forgotten.
In case I haven’t mentioned it in a while… my dad is a retired USAF Lt. Colonel who piloted fighter jets. Throughout his Air Force career, he got to know some really neat people and became good friends with some of them. One guy in particular visited our home a handful of times. I don’t remember his name, but he was one of those quiet, smart, and genial men, who was either in the service at one point and then worked in intelligence, or was a government contractor with one of the intelligence branches (think: top secret/confidential).
While most of my memory about him is fuzzy… there was one evening during my senior year of high school that he stayed in our home. I vividly remember we were waiting for dinner to be served and while we waited… my dad, this man (let’s call him “Lou”), and I were talking in the living room. “Lou” was sharing some fun stories about his life… experiences he’d had, famous people he’d met. I was completely fascinated.
It was during that conversation that he gave me some advice I have tried my best to live by: “Say yes to new experiences… as often as you can.”
And no… he didn’t mean illegal things, or things that would harm (like drugs). He just meant, if an opportunity to travel somewhere new, or try a new hobby, or meeting new people presented itself… “Say yes.”
It was that advice (along with God’s peace and provision) that helped me push passed fear and insecurity when new things DID present themselves.
Like the time I said “yes” to going on a mission trip to Japan with my university. Which lead me to meet someone in the JET programme… to which I applied and was accepted… which led to to my first job after college graduation and a life changing experience living and working in Japan for a year.
And saying “yes” to being a camp counselor in Texas during two of my college summers… even though I lived in Colorado… and that meant I had to drive (by myself) almost 1,000 miles one way… WITHOUT a GPS device or smartphone technology (or even good cell phone reception on many of the state highways), or cruise control (my purple Suzuki Swift was SO basic). Nevermind the impactful life lessons, new skills learned (sailing/high ropes/etc), and amazing people I met working at camp itself. I felt like I could do ANYTHING after that first solo drive.
Or when my college roommate and I went to San Francisco for Spring Break our junior year of college, stayed with her uncle (who works for the national park service and knew all the best places to go and visit), and spontaneously signed up to be an extra in a tv show that was filming in Los Angeles… and the crazy drive down there and back (a 24 hour trip)… but getting to meet (and HUG!) Dean Cain, Jeremy Sumpter, and saying hi to Christopher Lloyd in passing… (and getting to watch all of them act… and getting to see what it looks like to be on a real tv set…) It was more than I had thought I would get to experience in my life!
To be fair… all of these examples are from my college days. It was definitely easier to “say yes” before I got married and had kids… now there are more things to consider: time restraints of school, work, finances… and just my own personal energy to do things… sometimes the answer isn’t “yes”, it’s “not right now” and sometimes… the answer is “no”. But just because I don’t get to say “yes” as often as I’d like, doesn’t mean that I haven’t made AMAZING memories when I can! Some of these are grand and travel related, some are relational, some are seemingly minor… like changing a part of our daily routine to spontaneously get happy meals or ice cream. All are meaningful.
“Lou”, I am eternally grateful for the advice… I’ve never forgotten it!