to top

Mind What You Have Learned

This past week Sara and I went to Natural Bridge in Slade, KY (read her post here. I might write one later). Awesome trip. Good hike. I recommend it.

Since then, I have been reminded about life choices, and why I chose certain things over others. Colleges, Majors, wife, what Superman shirt to wear for “Superman Shirt Friday,” careers, where to live, which Star Wars shirt to wear for “Star Wars Shirt Saturday”….so many important decisions! I’ve made some huge choices in my time, as have you. But why did you make your choices?

I’ll start with college –– risk #1. Upon graduating high school I decided to get my Associates at BCTC in Lexington, and then transfer to UK for my Bachelors in Telecommunications. I would be allowed to attend UK while paying BCTC tuition.

However, during my Sophomore year at BCTC, I attended classes at UK and found out I didn’t quite like the Telecom Major. I thought about other schools. In particular, I thought about Asbury University.

Let’s stop for a moment –– I consider myself a rational and logical person. I weigh my options heavily and try to take minimal risk. UK was a safe choice. I could get my Bachelors and get a job for LEX 18 or something like that. If I had the guts maybe I’ll even try LA! Jeepers! Just think…

Pipe dreams, Casey. Let’s just stay at UK… California is far, and I don’t really want to sleep in my car for 6 months while trying to find a job. That’s a true story. Look it up.

Do I stay safe and go to UK? Or take a risk and go to Asbury University? Asbury is more expensive, but it has a prestigious film school. I don’t even know if all my classes will transfer. I don’t even know if I will get approved for that much of a loan.

Doesn’t hurt to try. So I applied.

And I got accepted. Big whoop, I’m pretty smart.

Geeze, I’m just kidding! Can you imagine if I was that big headed?

I was surprised I got accepted. Better yet, all my classes transferred! Half my tuition was covered in grants and scholarships I didn’t even apply for, and the rest was covered with student loans.


This is nuts! Everything worked out so well. The rest is history as I finished my last two years of college at Asbury. I had such a great experience learning about filmmaking and making a few movies. The most fun was making a web series with my buddy Cody, who I met at Asbury. To think if I chose different.

On top of that, if I chose UK over Asbury, I never would have met Sara.

A post about how I met Sara would be forever long. Let’s just say it involves some stalking. Moving on…

I took an awful risk asking out Sara. I actually approached her and asked her out. Me! The kid who would create his own curfew so he wouldn’t stay out too late. I even hand fed Sara an excuse to give me if she didn’t want to go out with me. Poor thing, she said yes.

Our first date was at Bonefish in Lexington. Superb place to dine! And much to my surprise there was a second date! That was a first for me.

Huge risk #2 played out very well.

After we got married we settled down in Versailles due to my first big boy job being located there. I became the second ever Media Teacher for Woodford County High School. The same high school I went to! It was weird after a while.

It was going well until huge risk #3 landed in my lap during my second year of teaching. I was offered a job to work at Post Time Studios as their Production Coordinator. This is a company I’ve been dying to be a part of ever since I learned of it as a Freshman in high school. There were no opportunities for me when I graduated, but now there is. It is a dream job! But I already had a dream job. How can I leave something that’s great?

Okay, I need to slow down here because I want you to focus. This is the biggest conundrum I’ve faced so far.

It’s different because now I am deciding for more than just myself. This choice will alter both my and Sara’s future. I couldn’t even make the decision on my own. Both Sara and I prayed and talked about it. This new job would mean longer work hours and no Summer break, Spring break, Fall Break, or Winter break. We planned on using those days for our own adventures.

It was incredibly hard, but we made the decision to switch. I work with my uncle, sister-in-law, my best friend, and many others I care about. Every single day I wake up excited for work because I’m doing what I love. The best part is it doesn’t even feel like work. I come home later in the day, but now I come home without the after effects of teaching.

Teaching is an incredibly noble profession, and I would’ve stayed until retirement, but this new job is where I belong. It feels right. It definitely came with it’s fair share of heated debates and tears, but Sara and I believe it’s the best choice.

So what have I learned? Taking risks is risky. It’s the riskiest risk you could ever risk. It’s like a great big game of risk. It’s –––

Sorry…. Got carried away.

But seriously, I have taken several big risks in my life. Two of them would’ve cost me marrying Sara. One of them I’m still living out, so it’s hard to say if it will pan out. I just go on faith that it will.

I suppose that’s the lesson. Call it cliché. If you don’t like the word faith, then call it a gut feeling. Whatever. In my case, my gut feeling is the Spirit.

When making big decisions, I have always made the decision that felt right. My mother-in-law tells Sara that you’ve made the right choice when “you know, that you know, that you know.” In so many words, that’s exactly it. My mother says the same thing. Mom’s are the best!

Regarding Asbury, I was way out of my comfort zone but it felt right. With Sara, I couldn’t even see my comfort zone I was so out of it. With this new Post Time job, my and Sara’s comfort zone is shaken to its core. We go on faith and our “gut” that this is right.

I knew they were right choices because I was at peace with myself after making them. Even though I was out of my comfort zone, the burden of making the decision was gone. When I make wrong decisions, that nasty taste always lingers.

People always say live without regret, but it’s hard. Honestly, it’s dang near impossible. Regrets, I had a few. Yet too few to mention. (Sorry, I had to throw in a Sinatra reference).



The only way to make tough life choices is by looking over Natural Bridge with a sweet red hat and a serious look.


With all the risks that worked, I have plenty that haven’t. My dream school was always University of Southern California. That was way too expensive, so I applied for their 10 week summer film school. I enrolled, paid the super expensive application fee, and I got accepted. I even paid for the equally expensive housing. My dreams were crushed because the class was $10,000. I could not take out student loans to cover it.

Then suddenly, like something from an episode of The Brady Bunch, I was told about a video contest that awarded $10,000 to first place! Super convenient, right? I made a video for the contest and got seventh…

Bummer. That was my one shot. I was out about $1000 of my own money and I couldn’t go to USC for the summer.

Some of you might be shaking your head about my idea of what a risk is. To me, these are risks. Maybe not death defying, but they are certainly life-altering.

For anyone reading this, teenager, young adult, older (much wiser) adults, this can apply. I don’t think I’ve seen it all and I don’t think I know it all. But I do know about faith. I know about faith when someone’s life is on the line. I know about faith when families are torn apart. I know about faith when a childhood is in jeopardy. I know about faith when taking risks such as “Where do I go to college?” or, “What career choice should I make?” They all matter and they all can be answered in the same way. Have faith and pray. Cop-out answer? I don’t know. But it’s my answer.

Another best-friend of mine gave me some great advice. Do not get stuck in thinking you have just one door to walk through. We all will have multiple doors we can walk through. You can be stuck at a crossroads of great opportunities. How do you choose?

Don’t be random. Pray. Meditate. Contemplate. Sleep on it. Whatever you do, do it knowing 100% that you’ve made the right choice.


In the words of an old hermit much wiser than myself:

“You must do what you feel is right, of course.”


Casey Cooley

  • Jeri Hartley

    Everytime I read your blogs, I cry. Imagine that, right? But it’s a good cry.. A cry of how proud I am of you. You and Sara are meant for each other without a doubt and were meant to write this blog together. Love reading and look forward to more:) love, Mom xxoo

    September 13, 2016 at 5:57 pm Reply

Leave a Comment