Fail Twice, Try Again

Everybody has dreams. Everybody has a perfect life pictured in their head that they are tr_failures and heartbreak are a part of dreams and journeys. You cannot have one without the other._ying to achieve. For me, that dream started with my attendance at American University in Washington, D.C.

For those of you who have been tagging along for a while now, you know exactly how important that dream was to me. For those of you just joining us, let me explain. It was so important that it did not feel like a dream; it felt like destiny. That is how positive I was that that was where I was meant to be.

I am writing this article to tell you all that I will not be going to Washington, D.C., in the fall. I will not be going anywhere in the fall.

Even as I’m writing that, it makes me want to cry. To say I’m disappointed would be the biggest understatement of the year. I have known for a long time that I don’t belong here in Utah. There has been this little voice in my head whispering that to me since I was twelve. I have been waiting for two years, almost three, to finally make that move, and now I can’t. It’s devastating.

It’s important for you to understand that the reason I am not going is out of my hands. It has to do with that green devil we all have to deal with: money. College, unfortunately, is astronomically expensive, and it puts a damper on so many kids’ dreams of higher education. Too many, if you ask me.

But I digress.

You’re probably wondering why I am telling you all this when this blog is supposed to be about my dreams and journeys, not failures and heartbreak. What I have realized through all this is that failures and heartbreak are a part of dreams and journeys. You cannot have one without the other, no matter how much we all wish we could. The question isn’t “if we fail”; it’s “when”. We are all going to fail. We are all going to fall short. What matters is how you act in the face of that, how you pick yourself back up and try again.

And you can bet that I am going to try again.

But that knowledge doesn’t always make it easy accepting defeat. It doesn’t mean that my heart isn’t in pieces on the floor, or that another little piece falls to my stomach every time I have to tell someone that I am not going. That right there is the true meaning of the journey. We have to figure out how to cope with failure, heartbreak, setbacks, etc. To be honest, I am still trying to figure out how to do so. But what I have realized is that all you can do is take it one stewe are all going to fail.p at a time, one day at a time.

I set out writing this article with the intent to give you advice on how to handle rejection or failure, to tell you what I have learned. You see, the hardest part of dealing with this failure has been trying to reconcile the plan in my head with what is unfolding in my life. I had been so sure, so completely convinced, that D.C. was where I was meant to be, and this was how I was going to get there. Clearly, I had been wrong about something in there. I keep telling myself it is because I wouldn’t be able to find a good job out there. Coincidentally (or maybe not so coincidentally), I was offered a promotion at my job just a few weeks before I learned that I would be staying in Utah. Now, I just keep telling myself that I had to take this promotion in order to get a good paying job in D.C. that would allow me to support myself. If you ask me, I was wrong about how I get there. Maybe American University isn’t the right school. Maybe now isn’t the right time. I couldn’t tell you what is going to happen, but I can tell you that I am not going to let this stop me. I am not going to take this “no” and settle for a life I never wanted. I am going to get back up and try again. And I will probably fail at something else. But I will never give up on my dreams. That, I can promise you.

I hope this made sense, and I hope it helped you understand me even more. I hope you’ll stick around and watch me grow some more; hopefully, I’ll be able to teach you a thing or two, too. But I don’t want you to worry. My crown may have slipped, but I am straightening it. Now, it’s back to business.

Why You Shouldn’t Worry About Worrying: Put It To Use Instead

How many of you expect perfection? In yourself, in others? I know I do, way too often, actually. I always have a plan in mind, and when it doesn’t go accordingly (as life so often does), I tend to beat myself down. Looking back on  my life, I have realized that I have spent far too much time in those little pity parties when I should be getting back up and trying again.

That is all about to change.

I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we all have fears, worries, and worst-case scenarios. So, let’s have a little confession: what worries you the most?

For me, there is a broad side and narrow side to my biggest worry. I am worried that I will wake up twenty years from now and realize that I ended up in the kind of life I don’t want: stuck in a dead-end job I hate, unhappy and unfilled, having never seen anything outside of the same little town I grew up in. As I have mentioned in previous articles, Morgan is a wonderful place, but when you’re born with a seed of wanderlust in your heart and curiosity about the outside world like I was, it seems more like a cage. That is my biggest worry. I don’t want to live with a bunch of what-ifs. I don’t want to look back on my life and see nothing but missed opportunities and question marks. That’s what this blog is supposed to be: a record of all the things I have done to leave this cage.

But now, it’s time to be real, guys. There is another piece to this worry, a more imminent part. I am scared. I am scared that I have misread every feeling I have ever had about moving out of state, that I will never leave Utah. As most of you know, my goal is to move out of state for school. Well, it is application time, and, seeing as I picked the schools that have a 20%-30% acceptance rate, I am worried that I won’t get in. I am worried that am I wrong.

Now, the real question is: what do I do with that fear? I have some options. I could just accept defeat now and not even bother applying. After all, if my chances for acceptance are that low, why bother? That is a surefire way to turn myself into a liar and a fraud. I could apply without any real effort and just prepare for my rejection letters. Again, I would just become a liar. Finally, I could give every application every ounce of effort I have in me and wait for the acceptance letters, believing with every fiber of my being that they will come.

I know which option I choose. I must give it my all, or I can guarantee that I will wake up in twenty years with nothing but regret. So, I’m asking you: what option are you going to choose? We all have that one dream, that one idea that we want to execute more than anything in the world, but, as human nature tends to do, we’re all terrified of failing that dream. Yours may be vastly different from mine, but I know you have one. Even if you don’t know what that dream is, there is one there. Find that dream and give it your all, or regret will be your best friend, too.

Unfortunately, human nature dictates that that fear will not disappear once you decide to give your dream every effort. If anything, that fear will grow. The more you want something, the more you have to lose, the easier it is to let yourself down. So, how do you deal with it?



  1. You have to use it. Decide right now not to let that fear control you. Use it to fuel your pursuit of your ultimate dream. Think of that fear as your own personal antagonist. The more it says you can’t do something, the stronger you get in that area just to prove it wrong.
  2. Accept it. I know this one is going to be hard, but the sooner you accept that that fear isn’t going anywhere, the sooner you can take its power away.
  3. It’s okay to be human. It’s okay to feel those emotions every once and awhile. If you need to cry, then cry. You are human. You cannot hold it all in forever. Give yourself a break. Then wrap it up, dust yourself off, and get back to work.
  4. Find an outlet for those emotions. Some of you may only need ten minutes to yourself to clear your head. Some of you may need music or a movie. For me, it is a pen. I keep a journal and write in it every night before bed. I unload everything onto those pages, and when I wake up in the morning, I have a fresh start. Find whatever works for you and use it.
  5. Finally, you have to accept that you will let yourself down. You are going to fail, but when you do, you have a choice to make: let your failure be the end and decide your fate or take it as a learning lesson and try again.

You are human. So am I. But I am not going to let that fear stop me from doing what I love and creating the life of my dreams. Take it from me, living in fear is not living at all. I won’t do it anymore, and I don’t want you to, either. So, decide. Now. Take control of your life. Trust me, there is nothing more freeing.



Be A Star At The Movies: Why You Should Ignore the Haters and Go to the Movies Alone

Let’s talk about fear for a second. We all experience it. It is always there, peeking just around the corner ready to grab us at any moment. Most of us have some sort of fear that paralyzes us completely, prevents us from accomplishing what we so dearly want to accomplish. We all have a cushy, little comfort zone. I know I do, but what kind of adventure would it be if we never stepped out of that comfort zone occasionally? Not a very interesting one, let me tell you.

Some of you may be afraid to do some things on your own, afraid of what other people may think of you. Well, I’m here to tell you: IT DOESN’T MATTER!!!

But I am getting ahead of myself.

We all know there are certain tasks that just aren’t meant to be done alone: going to the movies, going to a restaurant, shopping, sleeping by yourself (if you’re into that sort of thing…or you could be like me, who knows no different…), going on vacation, etc. But why is it so terrifying for us? I honestly don’t know, but I do know that we can push past it.

I have always hated going to the movies alone. It just seemed so depressing, and I always worried that everybody there would think I was a loser or a freak. It turns out, it really isn’t that bad! Last Saturday, I went to a movie late at night by myself. It had been a rough day. There is a lot of unnecessary, ridiculous drama happening in my house right now. I had worked that morning, and everything that could possibly go wrong at work went wrong. Then I helped my brother move (and I am not good at that, believe me!). Finally, I spent two hours at the mall with my best friend. That was, by far, the best part of the day because I hadn’t seen her in so long, but by the end of the day, I just wanted some time to myself. Admittedly, I tried to get her to go with me at first, but when she decided not to, I thought I would just go by myself. I’d done it before, and it wasn’t too bad. It was awkward, but it wasn’t too bad.

I will be completely honest with you, I argued with myself the whole way there. I came up with every excuse in the book. I shouldn’t spend the money. It was going to be awkward. People were going to look at me funny, etc., etc. Literally every excuse in the book! But there was also a part of me that knew it would be fun and peaceful and relaxing.

It was hard, believe me, to force one foot in front of the other and not think about what the people behind the counter probably thought of me buying only one ticket. My stomach coiled up on me, and I couldn’t really look at anybody directly. I even sat in the very back corner of the theater, but that is nothing new (let’s be honest—that is the best seat in the house!). But then the movie started, and something changed.

I forgot.

I forgot that I was nervous. I forgot that I was uncomfortable. I forgot that everybody probably thought I was a weirdo for being at the movie theater by myself on a Saturday night. I just forgot, and I immersed myself completely in the movie. (For those wondering, I went to see Skyscraper. Of course, I loved it. Hello, Dwayne Johnson?) My initial thoughts were proven right by the end of the screening. It was relaxing, peaceful, and fun! After such a stressful day, it was nice to sit and enjoy a movie by myself. I didn’t have to worry about seeing someone I know, which made it a lot easier to not worry about what they thought of me. (It’s like dancing in Walmart. You’re never going to see those people again, so go for it! On the off chance that you do see one of them again, well, you certainly made an impression, didn’t you?) I could just let go of everything that had happened that day and relax. It was the most fun I had had at a movie in years. (The first time I did this, I didn’t quite reach this epiphany. It was awkward and uncomfortable.)

Now, my question to you is this: why are you afraid to do it? Some of you may find this article completely pointless because you already go to the movies on your own. Good for you! Others, however, might not see the appeal yet. I get that, I do. It is terrifying to step out of your comfort zone, but I promise you that it will be worth it. Besides, going to the movies on your own is a pretty small first step out of your comfort zone, as first steps go.

My point to all of this is that I hope you don’t let the fear control you. I have for a long time, and I don’t want to live that way anymore. I have this entire fantasy life in my head, and I am going to make it happen. Don’t be mistaken, I am terrified of a lot of things, a lot of risks that I will have to take to make that vision a reality, but I am not going to let that stop me from living the life of my dreams. I hope you don’t, either.

Just give it a try. It will be worth it, I promise.



Wanderlust: A Big Dream’s Small Beginnings

I was raised in a small town in northern Utah. It is a beautiful little town surrounded by majestic mountains. Pine trees are everywhere. Everyone knows everyone, though it has grown significantly since my childhood. The kids I graduated with are the same kids I played with in kindergarten.

Don’t get me wrong, it is a wonderful place to live and raise a family. But I never felt like I belonged. Growing up, I didn’t have any friends. People were friendly to me, but we weren’t friends. Eventually, I made some friends, but that ended in disaster. (That is a story for another day.)

When I was in the seventh grade, I discovered my love for writing. J.K. Rowling was a big influence on that discovery, but there was one other person who had just as much, if not more, influence: Nicholas Sparks. (Yes, I was that sappy hopeless romantic who read The Notebook before I even started high school.) I lived for his books, so it was only natural that I pick North Carolina for the setting of my first (cringe-worthy) novel.

It was a teen romance novel (because what else would it be?) set in Wilmington. The heroine was a stubborn, guarded preacher’s daughter who finds it in herself to forgive the star football player for the pain he caused her. They were both seniors facing an uncertain future. (Yes, it is as cringe-worthy as it sounds.)

In my research, I came across the University of North Carolina. I’d never thought about where I wanted to go to college, (Give me a break, I was twelve.) but the idea of going out of state intrigued me.  It meant exploring a world outside of Utah, of finding myself and somewhere I belong.

I’d been bitten by the bug.

Discovering UNC was merely the spark that started a fire that has been growing in me ever since. My journey started with that one moment, and it hasn’t ended yet. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

When I started high school, North Carolina was my goal. When it was actually time to fill out applications, I knew I couldn’t just apply to one school. I applied to Western Carolina University (a cheaper alternative to UNC), University of Washington, University of Maine, Savannah College of Art and Design, University of Utah and Utah Valley University. (My father made me apply to the last two, citing safe bets. In all honesty, though, he was right. Somewhat. Don’t tell him; it will go to his head.) Western Carolina was my number one choice, and the day I got my acceptance letter, I screamed. Yes, I screamed. Scared my mother outright! It was the first of five acceptance letters; I did not get in to Washington. But that was okay. Washington was pretty far down on my list, anyway.

I must pause this story here to make a confession. I am LDS; my religion is very important to me. Don’t worry, I have no intention to use this site to force my religion down your throat. But to understand my story you need to understand what I believe in. Going out of state was not just some middle school fantasy I carried with me through high school; it was a spiritual prompting I felt.

I struggled with the decision to move out of state for a very long time. Everyone in my family was telling me I shouldn’t go, that it was going to be a major culture shock, that I was going to hate it and come back, so I might as well just stay. It was like I was at war with myself. One part of me knew what I was feeling, what I wanted, but another part of me questioned the validity of the spiritual promptings I thought I had. I agonized constantly over whether I really had a spiritual prompting or if I had confused my own desires for spiritual promptings. Not only that, I agonized over where to go. Was North Carolina where I needed to be? Or was it Maine? Or Georgia?

Finally, I decided that whichever school offered the most assistance (because out-of-state is ridiculously expensive) would be where I would go. This was not an easy decision to come to, but in the end, I knew it was the one that made the most sense.

Maine took the lead, offering me a thirteen-thousand-dollar scholarship. It was by no means a full ride, but it did cover about half of my tuition. It wasn’t what I had originally planned, but I was still excited. I was finally leaving Utah, and despite what my family said, I knew it was a good thing.

Then God intervened.

Throughout my senior year, I searched high and low for a job. I wasn’t naïve; I knew it wasn’t going to be cheap moving to Maine. I probably did thirty interviews before graduation. None of them panned out. I’d had one job before, one job interview. Clearly, I was inexperienced.

By the time July rolled around, I knew I couldn’t go to Maine in the fall. I had no job, no money. I didn’t even have a car yet! That broke my heart. I wanted so desperately to leave Utah, but I felt like I was being trapped in the very place I wanted to leave. It terrified me, too, to think that maybe I was wrong. Maybe I was never supposed to leave Utah. To never see the world, to never experience other cultures, to wake up in ten years and realize I never did all those things I wanted to—that was my greatest fear.

But it couldn’t be fixed. I couldn’t pull a few thousand dollars out of thin air (no matter how much I think all of us wish we could). There was no getting around it. I had to stay in Utah. But I still felt in my heart that that wasn’t right. I wasn’t meant to live and die here and never experience anything outside this bubble. So, I made a decision. First, I needed to find a job. Then, I would start my generals at Weber State the following year. I would finish my associate’s degree here in Utah and transfer when I was finished.

I didn’t find a job until August, five months after graduation. It paid very little, and the commute was atrocious, but it was a start.  A year flew by. I worked, and I worked, and I worked. The problem was that I was only working part-time, for minimum wage. Needless to say, I wasn’t saving very much.

Then, God intervened yet again. He gave me the perfect job. Two miles from my house (versus twenty-five), and two dollars more an hour! And, better yet, He led me to the exact choice I feel is right for me.

My dream is to attend American University in Washington, D.C.

Don’t ask me why. I have no idea. Heaven knows I have absolute no desire to be a politician. I don’t know what is waiting for me out there, or why I feel like this is something I need to do, but I do know that whatever it is will be more amazing than anything I can possibly imagine. It will be an adventure, one I’m hoping you’ll follow me on!

Now, you may be wondering why I am telling you this. The truth is that I feel like I am finally on the right path. God led me to that crappy job because it was the only way to get my dream job. He led me to the decision to start this very blog. I would like to think that, another year from now, I’ll look back on this article and be so grateful I went through everything I have because it led me to something better. I finally feel at peace with the choices I have made because I know that there is a reason for what I have been through.

I have never been more at peace with a decision. I don’t know what is waiting for me or there, either, but it is going to be one heck of a ride!

So, what do you say? Do you want to tag along for the ride?