It is fascinating how our lives can change on a dime and we must be ever vigilant to receive new signals suggesting new possibilities, new opportunities, new relationships and new ways of looking at the world. 

Author, Alice Hoffman, gave the commencement address at Adelphi University in Garden City, New York earlier in this decade.

Here are some of Alice Hoffman’s words about one brief morning when she was a teenager, a morning that changed the entire direction of her life:

“I’m a local girl. I grew up down the street and around a few corners. When I was growing up on Long Island, I never expected to go to college… The real world for me was a job at the Doubleday factory here in Garden City. I was hired to file, and I was advised I had better be fast out in the real world.  

The year was 1969, and at that time employees in my office could not go to the rest room without permission. Our coffee break was announced by the ringing of a bell.

Women were expected to wear skirts, hosiery, sensible shoes. There was to be no talking. There was to be serious filing. I lasted until lunch.

 At noon, I walked away from my job at the factory and drove directly to Adelphi’s admission office. I began as a non matriculated student, but I finished my course work in three years and went to the writing program at Stanford University.  

It was a thrill when I sold my first novel, but it wasn’t the defining moment of my life. Coming to Adelphi was the most important day in my life. 

It is particularly satisfying that my next novel will be published in the summer of 2003 by Doubleday.

This next month thousands of young people will start on a new year in school. It may be the first year in high school, college, medical school or business school.  August and September are times of so many beginnings. So many new people. So many new topics to learn about.

The above story is the entry for July 17th in my book Something Nice to do 365 Days a Year.  I write in this book most days jotting down people, places and ideas that have excited me. It is one of several ways a person can keep a journal. You can get this book at Grapes and Beans, the Timpson Creek Gallery, the Main Street Gallery or at Praeter’s Bookstore. 

Today, observe yourself with this question in mind:

Is there something I am being exposed to this day that could change the entire course of my life?