“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.”
—Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
I love that quote. At the beginning of this semester, I printed it out and hung it on my wall in my dorm room right next to my desk. It serves as a constant reminder day in and day out that I can do whatever I want to do with my life. And as someone who loves photography and writing and the outdoors, and would love to make a career out of those hobbies, it’s a pretty important reminder.
I was faced with a difficult decision in the past few days. I’ll get more to that decision later, but it was a dilemma that I admittedly blessed to have.
At the end of it, I opted to go with the decision that I felt best allows me to pursue, or at least dive a little deeper into, my dreams. I was given an opportunity, and I asked myself, “if I don’t take this, how much am I going to regret it years down the road?” And while I was thinking about this decision, I also thought it would make for a half decent write-up.
Here’s the thing: all my life I have heard stories from parents, grandparents, or older friends and relatives on missed opportunities. There was an opportunity present that was put off for one reason or another, but the common trend was the belief that the opportunity would present itself again some time down the road. Interestingly enough, again for one reason or another, it never did, and those people were all forced to wonder what if? And the last thing I want to do is live a life wondering what if?
For those of you who follow sports or watch the news, you know that Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez was tragically killed in a boating accident Sunday morning. He was 24. His entire life was ahead of him. He was a rookie of the year, all star, and if he kept the pace he was at, a future hall of famer and all time great. Just over four years older than me, I found myself sick in the stomach. It was then that I realized, you really never know what is going to happen. Why put off something that you can do now for later? What if later never comes? It’s a shitty way to look at life, but sometimes you have to. Sometimes those opportunities that seem so frequent and so easy to stumble across turn out to be the ones that only come knocking once in a lifetime.
The point here is, it’s never too early to start pursuing your dreams. The belief that we should wait or put something off is an awful thing. How many people are out there that never were able to pursue their dreams because they waited, and the opportunity never came back? I don’t have the exact number, but I guarantee you, it’s a lot.
What am I getting at here?
I’m going to Colorado at the beginning of January. I booked my flight this morning. It’s happening, finally.
As I was walking to class, I started thinking about how excited I was. After all, it’s still months away. But this realization that I’m finally going to the place I’ve dreamed about going to for so long still hasn’t set in, and I don’t know if it will until I land. It’s not the longest trip ever—just over a week long, right before I head back for the spring semester—but I find myself filled with uncontrollable excitement.
And that’s how I know how important this is to me. For nine days I’ll get my first taste of my dream, and I can’t wait.