“The most dangerous risk of all ~ the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet that you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later”. ~ Anonymous.
I don’t know that I was given a very conventional handbook for living life, when I was younger. Travel and the unknown have always seduced me, more than the status quo ever has – although I have been known to dabble in it from time to time.
I discovered, long ago, that I live for stories and connection and new friendships.
I also understood, long ago, that life throws up a whole host of choices, and well worn paths to take and the easiest one isn’t necessary the happiest one.
Many years ago, when I was setting off on my first big ‘don’t know when I’m coming back’ adventure, from my home, I was sat next to a woman who was the age I am now (38). We were at a friends party, I was drinking cheap beer out of cans; she was drinking white wine out of a glass….subtle differences. She knew that I was about too embark on my travels so we got to talking about travel and making choices.
She told me that, when she was the age I was then (20), she and her girlfriend were planning a year long trip to Europe. They had tickets booked, countries they wanted to visit and some hostels organized. Then, a few weeks before their departure date she landed a ‘really good job’. It was a great opportunity for her and, back then, she felt that it wouldn’t ever come along like that again. So, she backed out of the travel path and stepped onto the ‘safe’ one.
There was a bit of silence between us for a moment before she continued.
“You know, that’s one of my biggest regrets. That adventure was the real opportunity. I went on to marry and have kids and, I’ve been successful in my career. But now, I’m going through a divorce, my job doesn’t make me happy and I long for adventure.”
“And what happened to your friend?” I asked.
“She went on that trip, she had some amazing adventures, came back with stories. She was changed; she came back more confident and happy. She still travels. She also got married and had kids and has a great job now. The only difference between us now is that she has those memories to refer to, and I don’t.”
I realized then (nearly 20 years ago) sitting on that cheap plastic chair in someone’s backyard, drinking beer surrounded by my drunk, slovenly countrymen, that I was going to make myself a life of good memories. I was not going to wait until the perfect moment, or enough money in the bank, or ‘after’ something else.
Granted, I’ve had to be responsible and there were things I did have to say no to…but I’ve never said no to what I have truly desired.
How are you going to make your own memories?