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Samantha Jones

Sam's Notebook

Samantha Jones is associate editor for Carroll County Newspapers. Her email address is CCNNews@cox-internet.com

Opinion

What's your story?

Friday, January 31, 2020

Do you ever think about the circumstances that got you where you are today?

The college you attended, the company you kept, the people you dated, the career you started, the city you call home ĖĖ†all these things define our lives. We are constantly making choices that mold life as we know it, and, ironically, we donít usually realize it in the moment. Then there are those moments that stop you in your tracks, that open your mind to all the possibilities in front of you. We arenít granted too many epiphanies in life, but at least they are easy to spot.

I had my first epiphany during my freshman year of college. I had enrolled in a news writing class to see if journalism was the right fit for me. My final assignment was a story about a long-defunct choral group at the college. For more than a month, I interviewed folks associated with the group. They were so excited to talk about their years touring the country for various events, often describing the camaraderie they felt with one another. It took a while to chat with everyone, but I loved listening to people talk about their passion.

Then came the writing part. I must have written 20 different versions of that story, which all ended up deleted because I couldnít say anything quite the way I wanted to. Hereís a pro-tip for all you aspiring writers out there: Give up the perfectionism and start submitting your work. You canít improve unless you put yourself out there again and again. Rejection isnít the worst thing that could happen ĖĖ if you mute your voice, nobody will ever hear it.

I didnít know that then, but I did know I had to turn that paper in before the end of the semester. So I bit the bullet, wrote a final version of the story and sent it to my professor. A few weeks later, my professor forwarded me an email from one of the singers I spoke to for the story. I will never forget what she wrote in that email.

ďI never thought anyone wanted to hear my story,Ē she said. ďI never thought I had a story, but Iím so glad I shared it.Ē

That was my light-bulb moment. That was when I realized everyone has a story. In that moment, I decided that no matter where I ended up, I would make a point to hear other peopleís stories and share them with the world. Itís so easy to get stuck in our routines and feel like our life isnít anything special. We often feel like nobody would be interested in hearing what we have to say. Would you believe me if I said everybodyís life is special in some way?

I know it sounds an awful lot like Pollyanna, but I think we all have something unique to give back to the world. We all have a story to tell, whether we realize it or not. Thatís why I am so grateful to work for Carroll County Newspapers. When I started this job in 2014, I made a rule that Iíd always meet someone new at an event or meeting.

And I have. Over the past six years, Iíve been fortunate to meet new people on a weekly basis. Even better, I have shared so many stories with our community ĖĖ stories of loss, triumph, love and all the other things that make us human. We all have a story to tell, and that includes you.

So whatís your story? Iíd love to hear it.