When the fantastic Sarah from Yes and Yes asked on Twitter what we’d wished we’d known at 22, my answer was almost instant: Nobody will fight for your dreams if you don’t.
Twenty-two was not too long ago. Barely three years ago. And this lesson is something it’s taking me a long time to understand; it’s also something I’m still learning. But here’s the thing: this is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time. Fight Club. Chuck Palahniuk. A little fatalistic, I know, but definitely the kick up the arse some of us – me included – may need to get us going. Really going.
And perhaps the problem was twofold. I had a pretty privileged childhood. I didn’t live in a palace or anything like that, but my parents made sure my sister and I were always happy and never wanted for anything. They took us travelling, sent us to a good school, encouraged our education, bought us nice clothes. And that may have made me a little lazy. I try to be as independent as I can, especially now that I’m living in a whole other country. But when you’re used to eventually getting what you want, you take it for granted that the same goes for your dreams. That you can just utter “I want to travel” and that eventually it would happen.
Not so, my friends.
The other problem was youth. Is youth, thank you very much *grins*
Somehow, as soon as I turned 24 I stopped considering myself ‘young’. Sure, I’m still young, but I’m not as young as when I was 18. I’m not a kid, just now opening my eyes and taking my first tentative steps into the world. I’ve actually achieved quite a bit: a college degree, a masters, I had a good job… and realizing how quickly everything is rolling by, I had to admit to myself I wouldn’t be young forever. My mind might, my spirit might, but I won’t be 24 forever. And when you’re young and you think life is at a standstill it’s easy to put things on hold while you explore different avenues. It’s good to explore different avenues. But when that one dream which has been poking you in the back pretty much all your life and which you have ignored because it may have been ‘inconvenient’ or ‘uncomfortable’ is still poking you in the back so many years later, then maybe it’s time to do something about it. Yeah?
So there you go. If you have dreams, don’t expect anybody else to fight for them on your behalf. It’s you who has to do it. And yeah, it might hurt. And yeah, you may need to sacrifice some stuff for it. And yeah, there’s a possibility you will fail. But if I’m honest, I’d rather be upset at the failure than regret not having tried.