November 19, 2012 by Katie Fottrell
Now this is a time when I have 8092852 other things I should be doing instead of blogging (working on my research, studying for my exam in two days, getting more things together for my trip to Haiti in January, researching new content for my fitness class, sleeping?), but lately I have been learning a very important lesson that I’d like to share.
A lot of my life has been spent with my focus on my future – on where I wanted to go to college, the steps I needed to take to get there, and now on what I want to do with my life and the steps I need to take to get there – and a lot of those decisions have been guided by what I think I should be doing, what I think is expected of me, and what I think everyone else is doing and how I fit into that. And because of all this, of all the worry about being able to make enough money to live comfortably, of being able to make enough money to stop worrying about money(!), and of making my degree (and by association, all the choices I’ve made about my future thus far) worth the time/money/work, it has become very easy to get discouraged from following what I really want to do. Because it’s not what I should do, it’s not what is expected of me, and it’s not what everyone else is doing.
What I want to do is take a chance and try my hand at adventure. I want to move to Colorado after graduation and make my way there – as a snowboard instructor? As a rafting guide? As a worker of a non-profit? As a writer? Right now, I’m kind of thriving on the not-knowing part– and it’s one of the scariest things to think about, but I know I will never forgive myself if I don’t do it. I am ready to take my chances and do something I have always wanted to do and always stopped myself from thinking of because it wasn’t what I thought my parents or my friends or my professors wanted of me. In the end, I realized the only thing holding me back, as cheesy as it sounds, was me and my fear of failure.
It’s kind of weird, actually, because four years ago I wrote my college application essay on failure and how I loved it because you can always learn from failure – success is far less educational. And now, here I am on the brink of making some big choices and fearing failing. Funny how life works that way.
Basically what I’m saying is that now is the time for failure – you have the rest of your life to make up for it! That sounds bad, I know, like it’s already decided you’ll fail. You probably will. I probably will too. But trust me. Don’t be afraid to make a change. Adventures don’t come to your front porch and knock on your door. You make the adventure, and fearing failure will only ensure unhappiness and regret.
Take that chance. Move to Colorado. Pick the career you want, not the one you need. Go to Europe for a few weeks…or months. Step out your front door and make the decision to find your own adventure and do what you never thought you could (or should). You’ll be happier for it.