“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
My departure date is 8 days from now. I leave on October 1st. While it may be the beginning of my physical journey, I feel that my journey has already begun. Certain events have taken place that have forced me to recognize that Los Angeles is no longer my home. It no longer sustains who I am. Those events have involved heavy doses of pain, heart break, utter disappointment… and ultimately, the understanding that I am much stronger than I give myself credit for. My thoughts have taken me from the point of being absolutely sure of my decision, to wondering if I made the right choice, to nearly changing my mind and turning back, and then realizing that turning back would be the ultimate slap in the face to myself.
The way I see it, leaving is the ultimate liberation. Knowing that I had the balls to go after a long standing dream and not accepting what the world, or, for that matter, another person said I could do or could have is the proof I need to know that I can do anything. There will always be people who try to tell you that you should just be happy with what you have. “Why should you want more? Who do you think you are? You have everything you need right here.” What those people don’t realize is that the human spirit was not meant to be kept in a cage. There are no boundaries that tell us where we can and can’t go in life. Fear creates those boundaries.
Fear of the unknown is the reason why many people lose sight of their dreams. They decide that their dreams are stupid, not valid, not realistic, or they allow other people to tell them that their dreams won’t ever come true. They become complacent. While I’ve definitely been a procrastinator, I’m not complacent.
I’m impulsive, I do things on a whim, I’m spontaneous… and those characteristics have gotten me in trouble a few times. However, I truly feel blessed to possess those characteristics because they have given me more experiences and good memories than they have trouble. This decision to go on this journey started when I was about 17. I just always found some excuse as to why I couldn’t do it then. “I’ll do it in a couple years, I want to do this first,” I would say. Well, here I am at 23 years old, trippin’ out on the fact that I’m really going to do it this time. I’m going to leave California.
My personal belief is that we are given only a short amount of time to live and none of us know what our expiration date is. So, it’s better to live every day as if you would die the next… instead of living every day as if you were already dead. I’d rather look back in 20 years and laugh about all the mistakes I made, remember all the friends I met, all the places I’ve seen and be grateful for all the unconditional love I’ve felt. The last thing I want to remember in 20 years is all the things I should have done. I don’t want to ask myself “What if?” I want to say “Wow, that was insane… and AWESOME!”
Is this journey going to be scary? Yes. Is it going to be a learning experience? Yes. Am I going to regret it? Absolutely not. My hope is that whether I fail or whether I succeed, I will learn just how strong I am and that I can make it through anything. I can do it on my own. I don’t need to be co-dependent. Rather, independent. This life defining moment in my life will be a lesson in strength, endurance and wisdom.
Ignore the people who say you can’t do something. Allow yourself to feel pain, cry until you can’t cry anymore. But, don’t forget to remind yourself that the pain won’t last. Though my heart is hurting as I write this, the pain has lessened over the last week, over the last two weeks, over the last six weeks. As my friend, Gia, says “It will not hurt this much in six months.” Remember to follow your dreams, no matter how outlandish they seem. Nothing is impossible… and you can always choose to start your life today.