Buffalo, N.Y. has a large St. Patrick’s Day celebration just like many of its Rust Belt companions and other cities across the world. The parade is always the Sunday closest to the actual March 17 holiday.
This year, my cousin Erin, a med school student at the University of Cincinnati, came home to march with her old Irish dancing team in the parade. Nick, her boyfriend of four years, couldn’t make it though because he had to work, so he stayed home in Cincinnati.
Secretly, Nick was not at home, but was standing in the same sea of green in which Erin was marching. As Erin walked by, Nick ran out and stopped the parade, got down on one knee, and asked Erin to marry him.
Thankfully she said yes, because, first, he’s a really nice guy and us cousins have been waiting for him to make this move for a while now, and secondly, because no one likes to see someone denied on such a large stage. We’ve all seen the “not-top-10s” on SportsCenter featuring the ultimate denial.
Fast-forward to the next morning, I was waiting in line for my turn to interview for a potential position about a mile up the street from where Nick proposed. As I was waiting, I was doing a crossword puzzle.
I was stuck on the top right box, specifically 9-down which held the first letter of the four “across” words. I was pretty sure the word was SHIELDS, but I didn’t want to mess up in fear of being wrong.
While contemplating what to do with the puzzle, I remembered where I was: in line to be interviewed at my former high school.
I was instantly reminded that I am being thrown into a new part of my life in just a few months, and, like many other graduating seniors before me, had a minor panic attack about where I am going.
I’m seriously considering teaching English next year in South Korea, and I’m not entirely sure if I want to do that yet. But I’m not entirely sure if I even want what I interviewed for.
So, perfectly timed, I had this panic attack in the back of my mind as I was being asked what makes me a good candidate for the program I’m pursuing.
Surprisingly, I did, or, at least I think I did, pretty well. I came out of the interview feeling confident and I filled out 9-down which was causing all this angst within me as SHIELDS.
I did it; I just jumped in taking that risk. I thought it fit.
But, I was wrong. It was actually SHELTER. Even though I did it in pen, and I couldn’t erase what I did, I could still spell out the correct answer next to my scribbled out letters of the wrong guess.
Now, I know that Nick’s risk was much larger than mine was, all I have to miss out on is a one year experience wherever I end up.
But what Nick did was put SHIELDS in for 9-down, not necessarily knowing if it was going to turn out alright. Luckily, Nick was right, but being right is besides the point.
You are always going to fill out 9-down if you’re going to want to be successful in life, whether you’re initially right or wrong doesn’t matter. To complete the puzzle you’re going to have to fill it out eventually. As the greatest corporate slogan of all time says, “Just do it.”