Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Make Today Ridiculously Amazing

I leaned my head against the window, watching the cars pass as I sat in the back seat of my advisor’s car.  As my nerves grew, my advisor turned around and said, “Are you excited? This is such a great opportunity!”
My 14-year-old self was on my way to State Greenhand Leadership Conference, a weeklong conference three hours north of my house.  I was the only one from my chapter going and my introverted self was freaking out. I actually was hoping the car would break down, and I would be stranded on the side of the road for five days instead of going to camp.
Flag lowering on the final day of SGLC!
What if this week is horrible? What if I don’t make any friends? These thoughts ran through my head, but as I got to settled into camp, I came to the conclusion that I was the only one standing in the way of my happiness. I had two choices: spend the whole week by myself being miserable or I could step out of my comfort zone and make every day great. In that moment, I decided to make every day of camp ridiculously amazing.  
After going through sessions about leadership, hiking through the woods, canoeing on the lake, and meeting some of the most influential leaders in my FFA experience, I didn’t want to leave camp. I had made incredible friends, and I had one of the best experiences of my life all because I was open to this opportunity.

Fast-forward three years.  I’m a senior in high school and the prepared public speaking CDE is coming up.  This event was one I had always wanted to compete in.  I had a speech idea in mind, and I was excited to start practicing.  However, at the time I was enrolled in a college writing class.  I had already missed quite a few days due to FFA events but one more wouldn’t matter, right?  Wrong.  Although I was caught up on all my work, the attendance policy written in the syllabus was holding me back.  If I were to miss another day of class, I would automatically fail the class.  I was so disappointed.  
So the day of the competition came and I watched as all my friends got on the bus and headed off to the event.   As I walked into my writing class, I saw a substitute teacher in the front of the room and “Self Work Day” written in red marker on the whiteboard.  
Seriously? I’m already caught up and I could be competing right now! I sulked in my chair and for the next 90 minutes; I was pretty bitter at the fact that I could have been at the regional competition.  After a while, my friend Shelby noticed that I was acting a bit off.  She asked me what was wrong and I explained to her the situation.  Then she said something that caught my attention.
“Well, at least it’s only 10:15 a.m.!”
I don’t know what exactly she meant by saying that, and maybe it was that she didn’t have anything else to say.  But it stuck with me and it was in that moment I decided to change my attitude.  Although the events of morning weren’t ideal, there were still 13 hours and 45 minutes left in the day.  I thought back to camp where again those two choices faced me: either write the day off as bad or decide to make it amazing.
Whether it is a CDE, a sporting event, or a new conference coming up, we are presented with a lot of opportunities.  Sometimes we get to take advantage of them and sometimes it doesn’t work out.  Regardless of what happens we are presented with two options.  Make today great or count it as a bad day.  In the end, it is our choice. Life is too short to be anything but happy and sometimes the person standing in our way of having an amazing day is ourselves.

Make today ridiculously amazing.  

Stationed by the plow,

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