We know it when we see it. The girl with overactive hand gestures talking about the promotion she received. The guy telling us about the backflip he landed at Snowbird’s terrain park. The research scientist detailing the minutia of their current experiment. The father with pictures of his kid atop the podium for the state track championships.
And we smile with them, applaud them, cheer alongside them, and then wonder what it is in our own lives that brings us the same kind of joy.
I know too many people that choose stability over passion. They turn down job offers, forgo van trips, and choose more economical majors in order to pursue the path most taken.
Our FOMO is real in a more practical way than we realize. In some ways, we make choices in our twenties under the assumption that opportunities won’t present themselves later in our lives. So we purchase houses, settle with the corporate job, and begin saving and planning for children. There’s this lurking sense that if we don’t do it now, then maybe we never will.
But where does this come from? This idea that there won’t be houses to buy, or kids to have five years from now, is ridiculous. Give yourself time to travel to remote countries, creatively challenge yourself, and discover your passion. Trust me, there will still be a real estate agent at the ready when you return.
With that said, a serious diversion from life’s inevitable path generally offers a perspective change. You might realize you don’t need that much stuff, that simplicity is the key to happiness, and, you guessed it, bigger isn’t necessarily better.
Our fear of change and growth keeps us from pursuing big dreams — the dreams we’re most passionate about. I’m no different. My job provides a solid paycheck, and I only work two weeks out of the month. But there are things I’ve always wanted to do that I can’t pursue with my job. And it’s really, really tempting to stay in this career, for, well, my career.
But in my dogged pursuit for passion, I can’t settle for a job that doesn’t stoke my fire. The most inspiring people, to me, are the ones who break away from society — the artists, the non-profit starters, the vagabonds travelling across the country in their tricked-out vans.
I’m inspired by people who pursue freelance careers, who sell all their belongings, who sacrifice their time for years of schooling in order to become whatever it is they so long to become.
So who inspires you? These are the people that offer a glimpse into what you value and the life you long to pursue. I’m inspired by the doers, the dreamers, and the go-getters. The people that said enough, and went on to pursue their passion.
As corny as it sounds, if we let life go by without pursuing our dreams, we’ll get to the end only to wish we’d pursued careers in fashion, or quit our jobs to travel the world, or started non-profit’s in the sector closest to heart.
Logistically, it might be a nightmare. And in the beginning it might be scary as hell — the unknown always is. But I can guarantee you, it will be worth it.