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Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined. — Henry David Thoreau

As I packed up the last of my things for yet another move this year, I came across a small framed picture bearing the quote above. I remember the first time I read those words, and how I fell in love. “Yes.” I thought. “That is for me.” And so the little black frame has  traveled with me in every different direction I felt my dreams were taking me.  

Now as I gear up for the latest direction, I read the words again. It sounds so simple. And yet…persuing my dream has left me distracted, frustrated, homeless, lost, broke… just to name a few.  In ten hours I’m moving to the East Coast and I’m shaking in my $2 flip-flop sandals. I barely have a hundred dollars in my bank account and I’m about to drive 20 hours by myself to live in a place I’ve never been. Again. Go confidently?

As I read my question again, I realize the answer can only be yes. It has to be. There are so many reasons why you shouldn’t follow a dream…and if you ever forget, just listen to the people around you. But truly believing in a dream means the rest doesn’t matter. Despite the missteps it takes to get there, no matter the falls or injuries, you just have to keep getting up and going confidently until you get there. You have one life; live it the way you have imagined.

SailingOne doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.
Andre Gide (1869 – 1951)

I don’t think I slept much at all last night. Or, much at all this year come to think of it. I picture what Columbus must have felt as he set to sail. Did he have sleepless nights, wondering where his ship might go? 

While Columbus believed the world was round, most people of his Era were sure it was flat.  He could have listened to them. He could have silenced his inner belief and followed along. But instead, he chose to sail.

Once on their journey, Columbus and his crew battled starvation, volatile weather and deteriorating ships. Worse yet, his own crew lost faith in the mission and even plotted his death. But they persevered and eventually opened the Eastern world’s eyes to a whole new shore.

I know Columbus’ treatment of natives makes him a less than worthy role model, but I still find the scenario that surrounds his belief and his journey fascinating. If he can take his belief to the edge of the earth, through every obstacle and rocky condition, then perhaps I can feel a little more secure in my journey. Even when others doubt what I believe. Even when conditions make me nervous. I’ll choose to sail.

Nothing is more conducive to peace of mind than not having any opinion at all. –G.C. Lichtenberg

Once you form an opinion, you show that you care. And caring means you have to feel it when things don’t go your way. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told my friends, “I wish I could just not care.”

But caring is also what makes us human. How dull would life be if we didn’t feel? Ironic that a main sign of depression is “loss of interest in normal daily activities,” or basically, not caring.

There goes our piece of mind.

Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant, filled with odd waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don’t always like. –Lemony Snicket

Dinner at my parent’s house was never up for negotiation. “I’m not running a restaurant,” my mom used to say. “You’ll eat what we’re having.”

My parents made the best spaghetti. And stir-fry day was fabulous. But their meatloaf reminded me of cat food, and I was never too excited about green peas. Still…we ate what we were served.

As an adult, I can appreciate the different meals they made us. I had a healthy childhood with a variety of nutrients. Sometimes I liked it, sometimes I didn’t…but I can’t imagine the health issues I’d have if they would have catered to my sweet childhood requests.

In a less simple sense, I wonder if fate doesn’t work the same way. Sometimes we’re happy with what we get, and sometimes we hate it. And sometimes we think we know what we want. But when looking back down the road, how often are we suprised with the way things had to happen?

Every beginning is a consequence – every beginning ends some thing. –Paul Valery

Most of the time, you’re so focused on new events that you don’t even notice what chapters in your life are ending. Inevitably it has to happen; that’s how we grow. But sometimes it’s hard to look back and realize the things we used to have and the things we had to give up. Did we fully appreciate the moments? And how sad that we rarely get a proper goodbye.

A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure. –Segal’s Law

My roommate always says how impressed and proud she is that I have a 4-year degree.  Now granted I’m happy about it and it wasn’t exactly easy, but I never really thought about doing anything else. It was always: First you graduate high school, then you go to college. For four years I took classes, got the necessary credits and followed the path to graduation.

The truth is, I think it’s after graduation that the hard part begins. Once the paved path to graduation is over, the world opens up. You no longer have a single, simple goal of finishing your degree. You’re just… done. So what do you do with your life? You make a lot of decisions, go down a lot of different paths and are never quite sure what the outcomes of the other decisions might have been. Sometimes, you’re never quite sure what time it is.

The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking places. –Author Unknown

I use to have a room in the basement of a split-level house. Sometimes at night, I’d get settled on the couch upstairs watching a movie. By the time it was over, I was quite content to stay put. Of course, I always woke up in the morning curled in an awkward position with an uncomfortably stiff neck. Sure…it was good idea at the time.

Clearly this was a small and insignificant “parking place” in life, but only the beginning of many more to come. It can be so hard to get up and move on when you find yourself comfortable. Maybe you had your eyes on another prize, but why can’t you stop when you feel content?

Because eventually the morning will come and you’ll have wished you made the effort. I think parking places can be fun…like a scenic drive, exploring the view. But only if you’re capable of pushing yourself through when it’s time to keep moving.

“Thy friendship oft has made my heart to ache: do be my enemy for friendship’s sake.” — William Blake

I’m not sure how many people can relate, but this quote means it can’t be too obscure. 

I don’t know how the chemistry of friendship works, or what causes us to care about certain people, but it seems like once we do we’re stuck. No matter what they do, we can’t break the emotional tie. After being dragged through emotional mud, I think: If only I could not care. How do I walk away?

But I usually get a glimpse of the friendship we used to have, and it keeps me holding on. It’s just enough to keep me pulling for that person to come back, even when the emotional costs seem to out-weigh the gains.

If you haven’t guessed yet, drugs have played some factor in this. We all have to live our own lives. It’s just sometimes hard to care about people when they go their own way.

“Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn’t.” –Erica Jong

My decision to forgo all anonymity means I’ve given up the ability to be as open as I’d like about certain situations. But that doesn’t mean I can’t still express some of the effects.

Over the past year, I’ve been on a bit of a rollercoaster. Each time I’m on an upswing, life is great. Then comes the downswing, and immediately I run to a select few friends. I tell them all the messed up things that happend and how angry and shocked I am. At first, they’re equally shocked and angry with me. They commiserate, giving me all the advice I need to hear.

But then, without taking their advice, I’m back on an upswing again and I barely remember the down. Convinced everything fixed itself, I’m back on my merry way. Inevitably, the downswing comes back and I run back to my friends. By now they’re used to it, and though they’re still there for me, the shock factor has somewhat faded.

I’d be willing to bet we’ve all been in situations like this. We run to our friends (bless them) with our problems, in which they tell us exactly what we need to hear: dump him/her, get a new job, move out, etc. It’s reassuring to hear them say this, because it often backs our intuitive instinct. But throw emotions in the mix and the right answer is not always easy to follow.  So when’s the breaking point? When do we finally get off the ride and give in to the advice we know we should follow?

My Minnesota guy

“The heart has reasons that reason does not understand.” — Jacques Benigne Bossuel

On paper, I had the perfect relationship: He was sweet, a hard worker, my family loved him. He was responsible and saved up to buy a house. We picked out all the furnishings. I had just graduated college and we had all the starts for a perfect life. I couldn’t complain…but I did. In my heart, I just wasn’t there. I loved him, but somewhere along the line I had to leave.

I’ve been in California for almost two years now. In and out of different relationships, I’ve worked and been frustrated over almost all of them. Sometimes, I think back to my Minnesota guy and wonder why I left him. And I wonder how I can care so much about guys now that don’t compare. Logical reasoning says it’s crazy. But for some reason I can’t explain, my heart just knows.

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