What Are You Gonna Do With Your Life?

What do you want to do that you’re not doing because you’re too busy, too tired, too poor, too frightened? Carrie Ryan has wise things to say about the pursuit of dreams and how easy it is to put off chasing what you really want.

I always thought I was too busy to do anything else in law school other than be a student. AHAHAHAHA! Once I started practicing law I realized just what it was to be busy. And I had this moment where I thought: I don’t want to be doing this, practicing law, for the rest of my life. So I asked myself: if I could do anything, what would it be? The answer was easy: an author.

The next question became: what was I going to do about it? Because I really was busy, probably busier than I’d ever been at any other time in my life. And that’s when I realized I had a choice: go after my dream of being a writer or let it go. I didn’t see a sense in always saying to myself, “This is what I want more than anything else but I just can’t be bothered to do anything about it.”

Because there’s a part of me that thought: what would have happened if I’d just kept writing through law school? Looking back I realized that I had the time — I could have done it. I just didn’t. I made excuses. If I’d written all through law school maybe I’d have gotten published, maybe I wouldn’t have, but at least I’d have been farther along towards my ultimate goal.

And I realized: I don’t want to wake up in five years and ask myself the same question.

It’s funny how we do that with dreams: put them off. I wonder if we’re afraid to chase them down because we fear they won’t taste as sweet or because we’re scared we can’t catch them. I’m not going to lie, there’s a terror in holding your dream in your hand because if you break it, you have only yourself to blame.

It’s easy to tuck your chin to your chest and plow through life. I do it: focus on today’s tasks and then tomorrow’s tasks, and then the ones after that as the days roll past beneath me. Listening to Colin Hay sing the words, “I’m waiting for my real life to begin,” made me step back and look at the larger picture — how all the days piece together. You hear all these cliches about how life isn’t a dress rehearsal, etc., and often they’re meaningless but then there are those moments when you understand exactly.

I’m thankful that five years ago I decided not to wait for my life to somehow arrange itself to my liking. That I’m not waking up today and wondering, “What if I’d just started writing a book five years ago? Where would I be?”

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2 Responses to What Are You Gonna Do With Your Life?

  1. trayflow says:

    Very well said. You always think you are too busy until you are busier…having that second child made me realise busy! And yet i should probably be trying to figure out what I want to do when i grow up before another ten years pass.

    • Janettes says:

      That’s my line as well – what am I going to do when I grow up? But after I had Petra, I came to the scary realisation that I’m about as grown up as I’m ever going to get so I probably shouldn’t keep putting things off. I haven’t gotten my act together yet, but I’m working on it….

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