Have you ever plucked a dandelion stem and sent a wish into the wind? Or paired a penny with a hope and tossed both into a fountain? Surely, at some point, we've all faced a lit birthday candle, eyes closed, a dream held close until we released that dream into the flame with a single breath.
I've done all those things many times throughout my 45 years. I wished and walked away without a second thought, consigning that wish to oblivion before the tufted dandelion seed drifted out of sight, before the wishing penny joined the other coins at the bottom of the fountain, before the dripping candle wax had hardened on the birthday cake. Maybe it was just a short attention span or maybe it was something deeper...a lack of hope and optimism. Either way, I've sometimes paid little mind to my dreams beyond sending them out into the world on a whim.
Sometime in the first week of April, something on Twitter caught my attention: a technology giveaway for creatives. I followed the provided link and discovered byRegina, a passionate business that offers guidance to bloggers looking to develop and refine their online businesses. For the time it took to fill out a form, I could win a new computer, camera, or iPad (whichever I thought I needed most.) No retweets, entry fees, or Facebook likes required. In order to qualify for the "Creative Ninja Scholarship," I needed to describe what I did, the equipment I currently had, and what I would do with new technology if I won. The owner - Regina Anaejionu - and her team would review all the submissions, choose 20 to move on to the final round, and Random.org would take over from there to select the winner.
The goal was simply to give the gift of new technology to someone who needed it in order to take their dreams to the next level.
I clicked on the form and then, iron-fisted hesitation took hold. My mind was filled to bursting with doubts:
There has to be a catch...I'll never win anyway...I don't have a brand...I barely have a business...everyone else is more worthy...maybe the fact of Parkinson's Disease negates any plans for my future...do I even fit into the demographic these people are trying to reach?
I filled the form out in part and then deleted it. "There's no point," I thought. Later that day however, I opened the form again and after a deep breath and one of those impulsive, "It can't hurt to try" decisions, I completed my entry and hit send. I closed the tab in my browser and promptly forgot all about it.
And then, the impossible happened.
On April 23 (three days after the announcement of the winner,) someone emailed me to say "Congratulations on winning the computer!" Initially, I had no memory of entering a giveaway. (The chaos of theater dress rehearsal week was in full swing at that time.) Fortunately, the writer mentioned byRegina and I had something to type in the Google search bar. The link popped up and I said to myself "Oh, that....wait! What!?"
There it was in black and white: I had won a brand new MacBook Pro! A stubborn sense of unreality dogged my thoughts relentlessly throughout everything that followed: the email to Regina asking if this was really happening, the reply that, "yes, indeed...this is not a joke," the wait for the package to arrive. It wasn't until I was actually holding that white box from Apple that I knew my wish had come true.
Now I am learning to use a Mac. I am spending a terrific amount of time carefully considering where to go next, thinking about how to expand my art business and how to improve my teaching. The ability to offer video content opens up a world of possibilities.
This experience has sparked so many thoughts. A wish came true even after I had so cruelly abandoned it. A gift awarded by the Universe through blind luck is one thing; I wonder now what will happen if I actually pay a little attention to my goals. Can I nurture myself and my wishes into the realm of the real? I'd been dreaming about what my life could be but only halfheartedly. That isn't enough. In the least, those wishes have to be accompanied by hope but it's even better to follow up with direct action.
I am deeply thankful to have a new computer. (It is thrilling to have a computer that doesn't default to the Blue Screen of Death if I try to open a page with an embedded video.) I am also incredibly grateful that someone read my story and deemed my work worthy of joining 19 other people in the pool of finalists. While I understand that, ultimately, the luck of the draw fell in my favor, the fact is that someone grabbed that wish I cast and gave it a nudge towards reality. I feel encouraged and empowered, both by this new tool at my fingertips and the vote of confidence. I think great things are in my future!
Thank you so much to Regina and her team for this generous gift! I look forward to growing into my new "creative ninja" status!