I was five years old and my eyes were wide with joy. I was five years old and I couldn’t stop staring at the stars. I was six years old and all I read were books about dinosaurs and space. Six years old and I had worn out my copy of Jurassic Park, the novel. Six years old and I watched Jurassic Park every chance I got. Seven years old, I told myself I never wanted to be in space but send people to space. I was going to be an astronomer (or paleontologist) not an astronaut and nothing would stop me. Seventeen years old, I gave up this dream. I sucked at physics and never looked back.
For the majority of my life, I was almost positive that I was going to spend the next sixty years either looking through a telescope working for NASA or digging in the dirt for ancient dinosaur fossils (but space a little more, let’s be real). I read every book I could find, watched all the documentaries, and fell in love with space. It was the final frontier and I wanted to know what lied beyond. I wanted to be involved in some of the most groundbreaking research discovering new planets, galaxies, and life. I’d come home every night, take out my keys to open my door, but stare at the night sky for a few minutes before I’d ever enter my house. I could look up all night.
I don’t do that anymore. I rush inside, I rush outside. I put space documentaries on my Netflix wish list but rarely get to them. I haven’t touched a book on space in years. I’ve forgotten most of my random facts and knowledge of planets, stars, and theories. I don’t even speak with the same passion. Whenever I mention space, it’s not coming from a place of excitement but rather nostalgia, like, “ah, I remember when I was obsessed with space.” But ever since I failed that first physics test, my life changed.
I didn’t understand nor particularly enjoy physics and this scared me to death. I was a junior and I didn’t know what I wanted to major in for college. Me. The person who had been researching colleges since 7th grade. The person who had a life plan for every year until I retired. The person who had been so wrapped up in a childhood dream that I couldn’t face the reality of the situation. But thank god I got there. I didn’t want to make my life miserable with something that didn’t happen naturally or something I had to force, otherwise, I just know the passion would go away. I started looking at what I liked.
Music. It lifted me up, spun me around, and made me fall in love. It gave me chills, tears, and smiles. It gave me some of the best friends I have today. It comforted me when I needed it. But I couldn’t say it was what I wanted to do forever. There was something holding me back. I had an inner dialogue saying “okay, if not music, then what ELSE do you LIKE?”
I’m so glad that that day, a day I remember so clearly, I asked myself what I LIKED. What did I enjoy? What could I see myself doing forever? Watching movies. That’s where it started. I had seen hundreds by that point and was always excited to talk about them. I started wondering what it would be like to make them. Thus began my journey as a film student. I made a decision that day and haven’t looked back.
I tell you this story for a multitude of reasons.
1. I learned that I shouldn’t hold on to a dream just because it’s been there for a while. Because of inertia. Because it’s comfortable. But I should always be looking for something that makes me happy. Because where you’re happy, you’re passionate–and that’s where you will be begin living. I still love space but in a different way.
2. Sometimes you need to let go. It’s fear of the unknown. Space is the same. It’s scary but it brings great things.
3. I’m going to see Interstellar tomorrow and I feel like it’s going to bring me back to childhood and my love of the vastness.
4. I’m bored and wanted to write a blog post.
Why do something you hate? Do it because you’re passionate and love it. Don’t deprive your life of full-on awesomeness. Barney Stinson wouldn’t want that for you either.
“Life is like a banquet and most people are starving.”