I still remember it well. I was in the sixth grade, sitting in my school cafeteria turned auditorium for a special presentation. It seemed like any ordinary afternoon, but that quickly changed as a husband and wife photography team shared adventures of cycling through the Amazon rainforest. Each picture showed a window into the couple’s extraordinary experience pursuing their dream along the Amazon river. Their photos took my breath away, but their stories changed my life.
Doors of opportunity I didn’t know existed opened for me that day. New possibilities flooded my imagination. In that moment I saw a world full of adventure with an invitation to explore. It wasn’t long before I was dreaming: visiting distant lands, cycling cross-country, rock climbing, scuba diving, anything adventure related. Why not? If they could pursue their dreams, why couldn’t I pursue mine?
Going to college gave me the tools I needed to pursue what I began dreaming about in the sixth grade. In one of my classes I remember a professor asking us, “What would you attempt to do if you knew you would not fail?” I ask myself this a lot. It gives you freedom to be curious, to explore. As a result of first asking this question I pursued and completed my masters. I learned how to teach English as a second language and started learning a new language. Because of this question, I also dreamed of traveling to and living in a different country. All of these things started with a simple question. Through hard work and determination these dreams have come true, but now it’s time to dream again. So how will I answer it now?
What would I attempt to do if I knew I wouldn’t fail?
Ever since I can remember I’ve wanted to be an artist. I love painting, drawing, singing and taking pictures. Art draws attention to beauty, and it gives me a chance to express myself creatively. Recently I’ve realized that writing can be art too. Crafting words into sentences and creating pictures through adjectives and nouns can be just as rewarding as forming a sculpture. In light of this, I think how I would answer my professor’s question now is through a new dream of writing a memoir. A memoir is a type of autobiography, but focuses on a specific event, topic, or story. I like to tell stories, and maybe it’s time to tell mine.
Dreams can turn into adventure, and adventures usually have great stories. That’s one of the best parts about pursuing dreams. The stories last for a lifetime. More importantly though, sometimes something even better can happen when we share our stories. Sometimes our stories can encourage someone else to chase after their own. A long time ago one of my best friends really challenged me with a quote from Marianne Williamson:
Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do…And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
So shine on dear children, and never be afraid to chase after your dreams.