If Jersey calls, pick up phone

“You have to work ceaselessly on your end to digest and imbibe your opportunities or, I have come to believe, they will gradually slip away and knock on someone else’s more receptive door.” —Liz Gilbert

New Jersey called me three times last summer. And I didn’t answer three times. I have a paranoia about answering calls from numbers I don’t recognize.

I assume an innocent “hello” will place me on a string of permanent call lists for political groups, fake IRS agents, or worse, satellite television providers.

I didn’t give any more thought to New Jersey until I started listening to season two of a podcast I follow on creativity. The author leading it contacts people who had previously submitted a “self-nomination” about any of their creative struggles or so-called blocks.

The process is this: she listens to their story, contacts another source for additional ideas and thoughts, offers advice and assigns homework, then follows up to see how things are going a few weeks later.

As I was listening to the first few podcasts, it hit me. I had entered in the hope I might get in on Season 2. I counted back, one… two… three… six months ago at least. And where is all of this based? In New Jersey, of course. As I listened in, she greeted the participant with a simple “thanks for picking up the phone.”

Oh. No.

I have no proof, but my gut tells me I may have messed this one up. The timing just makes sense.

Who submits a request for something so specific then ignores the call*?

(*Raises hand.)

I can’t claim it’s my first time failing to grab what’s in front of me, because it’s definitely not. But it seems logical that in time, a person would be more inclined to see what’s in front of them in a timely manner. (Especially those things directly requested.)

Like most people, there’s a string of missed opportunities behind me. This is only one of those (alleged) things. I can only speak to those I know about. Others must have flown right under my radar or passed by as I bent down to tie my shoe. OK, let’s be honest, I was probably looking down at my cell phone.

Still, regret over missing them may be worse than the act of missing them. I could beat myself up and still not change it. The chance to take advantage may have missed, but I could remember it for next time and make adjustments. Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice…shame on me.

What I could do is raise my radar, wear slip-on shoes and keep my cell phone in my bag.

Unless New Jersey calls. Political propaganda threat or not, I’m answering that one.

Shelley Plett is a graphic designer for the Free Press and Kansas Publishing Ventures. She can be reached at shelley@hillsborofree­press.com.

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