The (Road) Trip Down Memory Lane

College: The best seven years (two years in school + four year break + one final year completing my B.A.) of my life…but that’s a story for another time. When it came time for me to choose a college, I was lost. Deciding to apply for a university was a question for me. However, with the help of a couple amazing teachers and the support of my family I found my way to UC Berkeley.

This past weekend I hit the road with my sister-in-law and niece, who is entering her senior year in high school. Our game plan was to jump on the 101 and visit three schools: Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, UC Santa Barbara, and CSU Channel Islands. I was (and am!) filled with so much excitement for my niece. I am excited about the whole process, yes, but more so I am excited about where she is in life.

Typical College Attire: School shirt advertising some sort of sporting event coupled with jeans and flip-flops (not pictured but very much real). Oh! You can't forget my straw hat borrowed from my roommate who was in the Cal Marching Band. Cal Band Great!
Typical College Attire: School shirt advertising some sort of sporting event coupled with jeans and flip-flops (not pictured but very much real). Oh! You can’t forget my straw hat borrowed from my roommate who was in the Cal Marching Band. Cal Band Great!
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Do! NOW!

Visiting the Renegade Craft Fair this weekend, I expected to walk away with my Bici Couture Leather Tote Bag a little heavier and my matching wallet a little emptier. While both those thing did happen, something else happened that I hadn’t quite expected: perspective. What’s cool about Fairs like the one that Renegade puts on is that you get to speak to the Makers one-on-one. You get to ask what inspired them and why they do what they do. Most of them had the same response: they were pursuing their passion. It got me thinking…am I? Are you?

Think back to a time when you were little and your dreams were big. What was your dream? What did your young heart long for? Space travel? Presidential authority? Superpowers?

Fast forward ten years or so. You’re in high school, graduation is around the corner. What was your dream then? Was it different from the dreams of childhood? Did your dreams look more practical? Doctor, lawyer, teacher?

Bring yourself back to the present. Look around. You are in the here and now. Do you still have dreams?

For many of us, we give up on the dreams that kept us hungry for something more “realistic” or practical. Why? Why are we content with throwing in the towel even before entering the ring?

My dreams changed as I got older. They went from actress to writer and stopped there. I missed the day at school where they told me I should choose the wide path, the path more traveled.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved writing fiction. As I sit here, writing this post, I have a novel waiting to be edited. I know, I am certain that I am meant to write and I should obey this calling.

Although my path has been confirmed, there are still days of doubt: What are you doing with your life? Why are you writing? You should do something more practical. When my mind drowns in doubt, I’m unsteady, unsure, unable to breathe. I ruffle through my desk for a letter housed in an envelope that reads: In Case of Emergency.

I fumble as I pull out the sheet of paper. My eyes linger on each and every word written by my hand months earlier. The letter is an encouragement, it is a command, it is a lifesaver in the tumultuous sea of doubt.

My chest fills with air as I begin to breath again. I am meant to write. I will write. I am sure. I am steady. I breathe this reminder in.

When did it become taboo to dream? When did it become ridiculous to not only dream but to pursue that dream with everything? This dream you have, whether it’s “practical” or not, go after it. Give it your all because that is what you were made to do. Build a foundation. Educate yourself. Practice like there’s no tomorrow. Be pure in heart in your pursuit. If you’re pursuing this dream to please others, you won’t go very far. Do it for you. Do it because a life spent not doing it is absurd.

I will write until my hand cramps and it’s too swollen to go on…and then I’ll write a little more. I write for me. I write because the stories yearn to be released from the confines of my mind. If no one ever reads my books, if the only person’s shelf they sit on is mine, I’ll be ok because at the end of the day I’m being obedient to my calling.

So whether you want to be a doctor, writer, teacher, mechanic, carpenter, lawyer, or secretary, go and do it. Give it your all. Give it your best. Make the younger version of yourself proud. Take a page out of the book of the Makers who braved the blistering sun at Renegade this weekend: Dare to dream. Dare to do.

 

What passion are you living out?