Good evening everyone,
It's so amazing to me how you can have such an insightful conversation with anyone wherever you are. You could be on line at the local cafe, waiting to buy that new must-have electronic device at the local department store, or just stopping to chat with a passerby walking their dog. Yesterday, I happened to have one of those conversations. Wednesday night is my late night because after work, I have speech therapy at 8 p.m. There's a gap of three hours between the time I leave work, and that's because rather than drive one hour in the opposite direction, I'll go get dinner and spend the rest of my time walking by the marina to get my daily exercise.
Well, I stopped off at a local place called Vinny's Mulberry Street. The food there happens to be great, but it's a place I love because my speech therapist's brother-in-law owns it, and he treats me well. (No, I don't get free food LOL). This was a weeknight and for the most part it was all quiet, just me coming in and the waitresses chatting in the back amongst themselves. The server (her name was "Jessica") came up to greet me and about half an hour later, while I was in the midst enjoying a date with a dish of baked ziti and a side of meatballs, she asked how everything was, and we struck up a conversation. It turns out that she was a recent college graduate, and like many others, was struggling to find work in this economy. She was looking to move to New York City and begin her career in fashion marketing/advertising. She was waiting while she was looking for work, and said she was proud that she was making an honest living. But toward the end, she made a comment about the circumstance she found herself in. She said "I took a year off because of some things I had to take care of. Everyone else I know has jobs. Maybe if I continued my studies, I would have found something by now."
We often second-guess ourselves because that's human nature. In fact, there's a term that someone I know uses to describe that practice: "overanalysis paralysis." We watch "It's A Wonderful Life" and wonder what would have happened if we weren't born. We think about the paths we took....and who we dated and fell in love with, thinking about what may have happened if it was another person. But the truth be told, second-guessing doesn't give us any real comfort. The only thing we can do is move forward and let our future be written by ourselves.
I too have had two major decisions in my life, and one of them I do admit I second-guessed for a long time until I realized that the moment I thought about the past was the moment I start to live in it. Although I am a native Long Islander, I once lived out of state in Maryland in a rural community. It was really unlike anything I'd known, I moved down there to accept a job offer. I distinctly remember driving through Dover, Del., and once you go through there, you cross the Mason-Dixon line, which officially separates the north from the south, and boy, did things change....NASCAR signs, biblical signs, I wondered what did I get myself into. It didn't work out down there, but I learned a great deal about myself-people down there work hard for a living just like you and I do, but it's done in different ways. Maybe they don't wear business attire, but they are up early with farmer's hours. I have great respect for that. I learned that country music does rock. In fact, I do get it when someone thinks a tractor is sexy.
I remember my parents for the longest time second-guessed my trip to Long Beach for the NSA conference that forever changed my life in so many ways. I don't have room in my life for second-guessing, and neither should you. We all make mistakes, we're human. And we do learn from experience. I learned that second-guessing should not be a part of the way you act and what you do.
My name is Steven Kaufman and I am a person that stutters. Until next time, stand up and be counted. Make your voice heard.