How is that book you always wanted to write coming along? What about learning guitar or that new language? The career choice you've always thought about or even going back to school?
Regardless of your age, these conversations happen all the time, everywhere. But what gives? Why do three or four years pass and we are all right where we were, with next to nothing to show for it?
A lot of it starts with our own sense of worth. A feeling of, “why me,” or “who cares if I do this or that?” Too often we see other people's lives and assume their stories are more meaningful and more worthy of being told. We assume our lives are too busy to make those dreams realities. Of course, we have families, jobs, and responsibilities — it wouldn’t be prudent to drift off into dreamland when the weight of real life is crushing us on a daily basis. Social media, magazines show us the end result of so many things and the journeys there look so easy, it is tough to imagine ourselves in those shoes. The thoughts of more and the desire to do something new and exciting slowly fades as the years pass. After some time, we believe the life we lead now is all there can be. Sometimes, we turn our focus to our children and hope for a different and fearless path for them. But you know the old saying, “Children don’t do what you say, they do what they see.” The real question is, what are you showing them?
We all have many gifts, talents, and passions. Those abilities are not meant, solely, for you. They are meant to be shared, so others can be inspired by your deeds and lifted up by your courage. To know one's passion and not pursue it is selfish. If not for yourself, follow through for those who are watching you. Follow through with the what-ifs and unlock the parts of you begging to see the light. The world needs you and you don’t even know it.
The truth is, it is not easy. But it is simple.
No matter what dream you’ve shelved away or passion project you've convinced yourself is for another life, it can still happen. You may not know the exact path to get there and often that scares people from even starting. One thing I can bet is you do know what the next step is. Even if the end goal seems like it may be years away, the trick is to be as short-sighted as you can. Only look at what is next. One foot in front of the other.
Do you want to write a book? Don’t. Instead, write a paragraph, a sentence, or a chapter idea, but do it every day.
Do you want to learn an instrument? Maybe acquiring one is the next step.
New career? Start talking about it and actively sending resumes.
Make a point of doing the thing today or mark it in your calendar. Set it in motion and move! It is not easy, because that process must be repeated often until it becomes habitual. Sooner than later, the next three or four years will pass and your life will look completely different. The world will appreciate it, you’ll scratch one or two items off the bucket list, and you’ll have yourself to thank for it.
The way of the frog is always forward, never backward.
Jesse Lipscombe grew up in St. Albert and is an activist and co-founder of MakeItAwkward, which encourages people not to shy away from difficult conversations around race and inclusivity.