Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

By Kara Davidson
Gazette Reporter 

My Two Cents: Taking the opportunities in life


April 4, 2019

I just wanted to say a little something about opportunities. They are out there; try not to miss them. Second, they are all over the place; don’t overlook them.

My biggest regrets in life can be categorized in one of two ways: lies and opportunities lost.

Never tell yourself, “I’m not gonna get it anyway, so I shouldn’t even try.”

Always try. Even if you know 100 people better and more qualified than you, try. Those 100 people might not be interested in taking that opportunity, you might have a slightly different skill set that puts you into a different class than those you thought you were up against. And maybe, just maybe, you’re exactly the kind of person they’re looking for and you didn’t even know it.

One of the worst things to hear is, “I really wish you would have done that, you would have gotten it.”

I’m going to share two examples.

My high school participated in the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival during senior year. I decided not to compete in the solo vocal competition even though I had taken voice lessons, and pretty much had a couple songs lined up. I had two friends and classmates, who I thought were much better singers. If I had to compete with them, what would be the point?

The thing is, I’m a second soprano, they were both alto’s. As we sat listening to the top soloists from each category at the last concert of the festival, I realized that I should have tried, even if I didn’t succeed. There are songs designed for my vocal range that are completely different from other ranges, and I could have sung them. Even if it led to nothing, I still wish I would have tried.

Growing up I was very involved in 4H. During my senior year, I was one of 12 delegates from my state, Idaho, to attend the National 4H Congress in Atlanta, Ga., an experience that is still ranked among the best in my life. At the end of the conference I was told I should apply for the planning committee for the next year. I sat down and looked over the application and started working on it, but I never finished. Part of the application was a video recording, and I just never got around to it. The application due date came, and I hadn’t finished, so I didn’t apply. Not putting more effort into it, not applying for that position, is probably the single greatest regret of my life.

I can accept failure; it’s a fact of life that everyone has to deal with at some time. If I fail, that means that whoever succeeded had to put in more effort than me, and deserve it, or those who put someone ahead of me come to regret it. I’ve seen both happen. But if I don’t even try, I have no right to say, ‘I could’ve done better.’ If I don’t try in the first place, there is no way to do better.

There are opportunities that I didn’t take that I don’t regret, but those were always choices. Opportunity A overlaps with opportunity B, I’ll go with A. I might regret not having the experience of B, but I have never regretted the choice of A, and I can make up for B later.

Not all opportunities are by chance, some will be there, and they aren’t going away.

I believe every young person should attend a capitol for Independence Day. The National capitol is amazing, but if you can’t make that, try Olympia, Boise or Salem. It’s a different experience.

I believe every American should visit the Holocaust Museum in D.C. at least once. To be honest, I think every American should visit the national capitol at some point, and the museums are incredible and worth visiting.

I believe every American should visit Pearl Harbor, Gettysburg, the Freedom Trail and Arlington National Cemetery. There is history hidden there that can’t be experienced without going to the places those things happened. Visit National Parks, visit historical sites, visit a foreign country. Develop a pride in the country that you call home.

These are opportunities that aren’t going anywhere. You don’t have to visit them in one year, or in 10. The opportunity will still be there. Find the opportunities that you want most and take them.

And, at the end, thank those who helped make that opportunity possible.

(Davidson, who majored in English at the University of Idaho, worked this winter as a reporter for the Gazette. She departed Saturday for Alaska where she is employed by Princess Cruise Lines resort at Denali National Park.)


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