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In one of my classes this past week, we interviewed one of the leaders in Boston theater for an assignment. During the interview, he offered a piece of advice that he received when he was an aspiring young actor. “Be ready,” he said. “Everyone will get their chance, but the question is if they are ready for it.”
Our interviewee used to drive taxis in Boston while he searched for acting jobs. One day, he received a call from dispatch to pick up Carol Channing just after her performance in Hello, Dolly! It was on this call that Ms. Channing shared these words with him, these words that he has never forgotten and now passes on to dreamers everywhere.
What this man said about chances is true. If it weren’t, we would all be wasting our time trying to become better people. “Be ready,” he said. The time WILL come.
We all have dreams and ideas of who we want to be. When I was little, I wanted to be a firefighter like my dad. He is one of the bravest people I know and I wanted to be just like him. Then, I wanted to be a veterinarian because I like animals. I also wanted to be an architect, an astronaut, and an anesthesiologist. I even tried to be a painter. I felt like I kept changing my mind every other week. I kept getting bored with one idea, or I would figure out that I didn’t have the courage to run into a burning building, or I would see stars every time I caught a glimpse of blood. None of these jobs were right for me, and I began to wonder if I would ever figure out what I wanted to be.
I kept growing up, and my dreams kept changing. All I knew, all I’ve always known, is that I want to change the world. I have always been ready to, I just didn’t know how.
Then, I got a flyer in the mail three years ago from Emerson College, a school in the heart of Boston’s theater district with one of the best writing programs in the country. That was my chance, and I knew it.
I still have yet to change the world with my writing, but I’m working on it. It’s funny, every once in a while, I get these “signs” that let me know I’m on the right path in my life. For example, my dad and I have always bonded over hawks- they are one of those things that are very special and symbolic for us. We play this game in the car and we see how many hawks we can spot whenever we drive somewhere. He’s really good at it, where I ‘m better at spotting buzzards.
Last week, I was looking out my dorm room window (at Emerson, of course), and the biggest hawk I’ve ever seen flew right past. I watched it fly around downtown Boston for ten minutes before it flew away. At that moment, I knew I was where I was supposed to be. Things like that don’t just happen. They are life’s way of telling us that we are on the right track, that we are doing a good job. They are our opportunities, and we have to be ready for them.
We all get our shot at that one thing that we are meant to be in life. Half of the time, we are already there, we just don’t know it yet. One of the most beautiful things in life is that our opportunities change as our circumstances do, which means that we will always get another chance. It may not be the same chance, but there will be another one. We just have to be ready and willing to see it.