When I was still a teenager I had a long distance friend. We kept in touch daily, emailing back and forth, hopping on instant messenger for long chats, sometimes even having multiple phone calls throughout the day. We were both young writers, which is what drew us together. Although our styles were quite distinct, our different perspectives helped each other become better writers. At times we would discuss our future and how we wanted to travel to Europe and write and do big things with our lives.
I was a bit older than him, and during much of the time when we were close he was wrapping up his senior year of high school. He always talked about moving away from the small town he lived in (so small it did not even have a Starbucks, much to my disconcertment). He wanted to travel to Europe and write a bestselling novel and visit New York City. In short, he wanted to live big. But now, years later, those dreams have changed. We no longer talk or send long emails back and forth. We no longer discuss our futures which have gone in quite different directions than planned.
No wrong choices were made, but choices were made nonetheless. I know he has never left the small town he grew up in and probably never will. He’ll never go to Europe, enjoy the rich culture, and become inspired while backpacking through the countryside. He’ll never move to New York City to enjoy the demanding hustle and bustle of the publishing industry. And he will probably never write a bestselling novel. He’ll never have that big life he dreamed of.
Meanwhile, I moved away from the town I grew up in, and still continue to chase my big dreams. I went to Europe and walked the greenest land I’ve know. I traveled to New York and wandered through Times Square and Central Park amidst the neverending hub of people. And I continue to write on my fiction novels. Looking back into the past I need not wonder what would have happened if I had chosen a different path. I can only keep moving forward because I have chosen to live a life without regrets and take those risks.
Living big is a choice which only comes to past if time and hard work are poured into your actions. It’s much easier to stay in a comfortable zone, walking a path where you can clearly see the end. We’ve all heard the saying “the bigger the risk the bigger the reward.” If your dreams are big you’ve got to take some risks. It’s only when we start doing what everyone expects us to do and give into the demands society places on us, that our lives truly become small.
If you want to take a different path, it’s not only okay, you should! The people who change the world and shape the future aren’t the ones following the rules and living a soulsucking life.
After all, what is the worst that can happen?