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Column

Expand comfort zones from challenging time

Not one of us signed up for this — this year interrupted. We didn’t sign up to have sports suspended then canceled. We didn’t sign up for our lives to be knocked of track by a world health crisis.

And it goes on …

Do I like the fact I haven’t been able to do the work I love — cover high school sports — since March? No, but as it is said many times “It is What It is.”

As we send the Class of 2020 out from high schools and even those graduating from college, it’s going to be tough as always to find their way. It’s going to be a little tougher maybe for some.

How we respond to adversity is a concept taught by coaches in all sports. It’s a life lesson. We all have been encountering new life lessons during this health criss. No one was spared.

Learning to find the positive no matter how negative the situation is was a life lesson my parents taught us growing up. They pushed us to step out of our comfort zones to discover who we were as individuals.

On May 27, 1975, I walked across the stage at my very small high school — there were 17 in my graduating class — was handed my diploma. When I step off the final stage step, I was out of one of my comfort zones.

I knew I was going to Kansas State University in the fall. I assure you nothing else was certain, except my support system from my family. Never was it the plan to be in the KSU marching band for four years. Never was it the plan to have to work through the death of my youngest brother during college.

Quite honestly, I was two months from graduating from college before I knew I was suppose to have been interviewing for jobs before the end of the first semester. Talking about being out of my comfort zone.

Job was secured and I started working at a weekly newspaper four days following graduating from Kansas State University. Another comfort zone expansion for me — a full-time job but not one of 9-to-5 design.

After five years of weekly newspaper work, I decided I needed to step out once again. I became the sports editor of a six-day daily newspaper. Both jobs were in the southeast Kansas area and I was still working with several high schools I began with allowing me to easy into a new world.

I didn’t expect to be fired in October of my 29th year at that daily newspaper but I was. I kept my head up, stayed in place and covered sports with a Facebook page. I was searching for a new job but kept working from home.

My comfort zone was expanded again with an opportunity to move out of my home state of Kansas. I love Kansas but sometimes it comes down to where you find an opportunity to do what you love to do.

I came to Newton, Iowa. I developed a new comfort zone in the past seven years.

Then came March 2020 and COVID-19. Our comfort zones have been reshaped by this pandemic from sports to just life in general.

My advice to the graduating Class of 2020 — at any level — look at the positives from this challenging time we’ve been faced with and push forward. We all must improvise, adapt and overcome in life.

Expand your comfort zones and discover yourselves. Go. Learn things.

Contact Jocelyn Sheets
jsheets@newtondailynews.com

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