Posted tagged ‘mistakes’

Make the most of the present

June 24, 2011

Have you ever not pursued a friendship because the person was leaving town in a few weeks? Or not been especially nice to someone because you thought you’d never see them again? I’ve certainly been guilty of these things, but the older I get the more I realize these are big mistakes. Life has a way of repeating itself.  I mean, things don’t happen the same exact way twice (obviously). But elements of your past return in ways you’d never expect them to. For instance:

  • I knew a girl for just a couple days in France, but a couple years later unexpectedly drove her 10 hours to a wedding in Indiana (and 10 hours back).
  • I met a guy for just a few hours in Boston, but ended up going out with him 10 years later (and getting engaged).
  • A friend I briefly studied abroad with had me in her wedding eight years later and I’m going to have her in my wedding in September.
  • A town official I covered for a daily newspaper gave me French translation work several years later.

These are just a few of the many examples of people coming back into my life. I’ve been thinking about this lately because a new friend of mine (from my French conversation group) is moving to California in a month or so. It’s sad she’ll be leaving but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t make the most of being her friend for the next month. We might end up in the same place at another point in our lives, and even if we don’t, it’s still worth hanging out.

You never know what might happen tomorrow (you could get struck by a lightning bolt and die), so you need to make the most of the present. Enjoy people while they’re with you, and don’t worry about whether or not you’ll see them tomorrow.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com/photos/kicks01/4795408812

Reminiscing about reporting

April 7, 2010

Now that I am no longer reporting the news I’m starting to reminisce about my reporting experiences. There were certainly many of them, but recently I’ve been thinking about some of the experiences that got me in trouble.

Lots of times they were over seemingly little things, but for whatever reason my actions really upset people. Now I realize I could have been more sensitive to the people I was writing about while still conveying the truth.

For example:

1. One time I wrote a story about a group of village residents who opposed a proposed housing development. They ended up suing the village planning board, claiming it gave the project an insufficient environmental review.  The residents won the suit, though that wasn’t enough to keep the project from happening. At a meeting where the planning board approved the project a second time residents expressed their disdain. Some yelled, some stormed out of the room, and some cried. Well, I mentioned that one specific woman rushed out of the room crying. She had been very vocal about the lawsuit. I ended up getting an angry letter from her a few days later saying I had humiliated her. She hadn’t left her home in days. Looking back, I suppose I should have instead written that she was “visibly upset,” or at least not singled her out.

2. One time I wrote a story about how the mayor was threatening to lay off a group of village employees who wanted to unionize. He said it publicly at a village board meeting. Well, my mistake was that I used the word “fire” in my article instead of the words “lay off.” At the time I thought that a layoff was a type of firing. Well technically it is, but the problem is that many people interpret “firing someone” to mean the person was dismissed for doing something wrong. Even though that’s not the dictionary definition, it’s the association that people make.  A layoff, on the other hand, typically results from financial pressure. So I was suggesting that the mayor was threatening to let go village employees for something bad they did, when it really was because increased village salaries would force him to do so. Boy was the mayor mad at me. He publicly humiliated me for months. But at least I learned my lesson. (more…)