red covers green
A friend and former colleague sent me this picture the other day. He came across it in a photo album along with several other shots from an event held in his honour. November, 1998. I was just shy of 22 years old.
I remember this red blazer. It was part of a set with a matching dress that I purchased in a brave moment. Red wasn’t a colour I normally went for, but I loved this suit. I hoped it would say “young professional". Sadly, when I tried it on again at home it whispered, “too much leg, not enough experience”. I decided the dress was too short and fitted for the newsroom and it found a home at the back of my closet. That red blazer though? Oh, I wore the heck out of it. Press conferences and town hall meetings. Grand openings and street corner interviews. House fires and the occasional back alley campout, waiting for a picture of whomever the police were bringing into custody.
That blazer made me feel like I could take on anything. It fit perfectly and I was pretty sure it was red enough to make this small town kid look a little less green.
The truth is, I had no idea what I was doing when I left home after high school. I had decided to study journalism just a few months earlier at the suggestion of my high school English teacher. I passed the college entrance exams and interview process, and excitement quickly began to overtake insecurity. I’d been to Calgary once before I moved there. I had no idea how to get around the campus, let alone the city. I felt like I was branded with an F; my own scarlet letter announcing to everyone that I was Fresh off the Farm.
As we all do at some point, I just figured things out. I kept moving forward, not exactly sure of the path but eager to walk it. I did my final student practicum at CTV News and managed to parlay that into a part time, then full time job. My plan was no plan at all, really...just to listen more than I spoke, work hard and gratefully take every opportunity that came my way.
As it turns out, my approach served me well in that career and has proven to be a pretty decent way to roll through life. Say yes to experiences. Say yes to adventure and the unknown. Be grateful for it all. There really are no wrong turns. If you don’t have the entire journey figured out, just take the next step.
And hey...don’t be afraid to pick the red suit. It just might be your colour after all.