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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.

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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.

“If Beethoven had been killed in a plane crash at the age of 22, it would have changed the history of music… and of aviation.” –Tom Stoppard

The obvious, is that Beethoven was a musical genious. Robbed too early of his talent, who knows where music would be today. But then you think about how chain reactions can have such a monumental impact. And how the death of someone of importance would make a much bigger impact than someone unknown. And how a single failure and fear could have potentially halted one of the most progressive human developments of all time.

Clearly, this wasn’t the case…and thankfully so. But it’s interesting to wonder what could have happened. Even more interesting, is to think about similar situations that may have stopped us from developing and moving forward. Where have we stopped short due to fear or a single failure? Likewise, can we use this idea to keep pushing forward, even when we feel like we should give up?

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