There’s an old Dr. Seuss book called “Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?” Let me summarize it for you. The main character is being reminded on every page not to complain because things could be so much worse. Every page is riddled with some kind of terrible issue being endured by someone else. Here’s an excerpt:
“When you think things are bad,
when you feel sour and blue,
when you start to get mad,
you should do what I do!
Just tell yourself, Duckie,
you’re really quite lucky!
Some people are much more…
oh, ever so much more…
oh, muchly much-much more
unlucky than you.”
I know there’s some serious life lesson to impart to a generation of entitled children in there, but I’d like to think there’s more to it than that. That a book for children carries with it a helping of wisdom, too. Maybe it’s that we are part of making our own luck.
Here you are, having just quit your job to pursue full-time the thing you love most to do: writing. And aren’t you crazy for being a writer? Writers don’t make any money! They live paycheck to paycheck! They never get to write what they WANT to write; they get paid to write what their bosses tell them.
So why is it, then, that you chose to pursue this career? Why are you pulling what I’ll deem an ‘Eleanor Roosevelt,’ wherein “you must do the thing you think you cannot do?” Why are you doing this? Why give up comfort and stability for the inexplicable life of an artistic creative who’s always down to a deadline?
It’s because this is what you were born to do. It’s who you are. Please know that I’m secretly a little jealous that you knew what you wanted to do with your life at some ridiculously young age. (I wish I had picked up a plastic stethoscope at age 3 and known since then that I’d eventually go into medicine, but alas, no such luck.)
So, to all the nay-sayers and the worriers, I’d simply say, “Are you, at this moment, doing exactly what you want to do? Are you pursuing the dreams YOU have had?” Never have we been at a place in our lives where we have no real attachments and therefore, no excuses. Our time is NOW. And it’s not too early, and it’s not too late.
Do you remember that last year we named 2012 the ‘Year of the Phoenix’? We sat down in my old apartment on that beat-up leather couch and wrote down resolutions because this was going to be OUR year. We were going to stop waiting and start doing. We were going to take over the world with a delicate mixture of hard work, intuition, and faith – in ourselves, in each other, in God working things out the way they’re supposed to go.
And what happened? I got into med school and you have quit your job to start something new. A new chapter. With fresh, crisp pages. Empty pages that will eventually be filled with your words and experiences, but sit now expectant, full of promise and potential. Just like you.
I have to say, Sarah, you have inspired me to continue to go after what I want. You inspire all of us. Every day. My favorite author, Donald Miller, said it best:
“We don’t normally face our fears willingly. Usually, God has to woo us into the desert. We are either chasing love or some other desire, and we find ourselves in the midst of a situation in which we have very little control. And when we lose control, we go into a mild form of trauma. But the good news is the greatest stories are lived in the desert. The great lives are lived in the places we most fear. If we fear being rejected, the great story has us standing at the door with flowers in our hands, if we fear losing love, the great stories have us letting that person go rather than clinging to them. If we fear taking a chance on a dream, the great stories have us quitting our jobs.” (Donald Miller, Through Painted Deserts.)
Do you remember I sent this to you when you were concerned about the possibility of leaving your old job? Of having to embrace the uncertainties?
You did it. You’re not out of the desert yet, but I’ve never been prouder of the woman you’ve become. You are taking chances, which is more than most of us can say, babydoll.
To the one who has been there for me good times and bad, who has celebrated singing karaoke on top of tables and has held me as I cried over school rejections, I say this: Did I ever tell you how lucky you are? No? Well we, the friends who watch you make decisions that are difficult but necessary, the ones who revel in your successes and remain through your failures, WE are the lucky ones. Because we know you, and because we get to see you become who you were meant to be.
Love you much,
image – 42andpointless