Dear “Adults”, I Have a Bone to Pick With You
Make up your minds already! Seriously.
Am I too young to know what’s best for me? Or, too old to go after my “unconventional” dreams?
Am I a “child” who refuses to grow up? Or an “adult” who should “know better”?
Is life so short that I’m really “wasting” my time? Or is there “so much more to come” that following my passions now is but a blink in the scheme of a larger life?
Come on! I’m asking YOU. Out of love and good faith you’ve volunteered advice to no end, but had you kept a record maybe you would see how I’ve become so confused.
I HAVE DREAMS – Thanks to you and others who’ve come before me and pushed the limits of possibility. I don’t know why this should come as a surprise. After all, from day one I’ve been told to “shoot for the moon” “reach for the stars” and “give 100%”. I must’ve missed the fine print accompanying these words of encouragement that said: “* aforementioned words only applicable to realistic goals when given to persons over the age of 18. Realistic goals defined as job requiring academic certification with a net salary of at least $100,000/year. **Must include house with white-picket fence and marriage before the age of 30.”
Why is the right to dream reserved for children? Is the 20-year old mark the peak of my existence only to be followed by a methodical downhill towards death? Sorry to sound grim, but I just want one good reason why I should give up on a dream that gets me up in the morning and keeps my heart and mind open to a world of possibility and inspiration.
Don’t worry. I have it all in perspective. It might not be your perspective, but I’ve taken inventory and I know where I stand.
A surfer knows the pull of the ocean as a musician knows the feeling behind their music. Right now I know that my heart belongs to the mountains. I am a skier, adventurer, impressionable being, who wants to know what else is out there before I decide which direction I’ll take.
Who knows? I might be cut out for “conventional” after all, and when I decide I am I’ll give it the same commitment and I’ll embrace it as I do my dreams, because I’ll have a new challenge and a new goal.
My dreams are not a waste; they’ve been guided by your words of wisdom. I haven’t settled into the mundane and gone by the book. Instead I’ve been creative. I’ve been dedicated. I’ve pushed my limits. I’ve persevered. I’ve failed. I’ve gotten back up. And you know what? I’ll probably fail a few more times before I get it right.
My one regret from ski racing was my fear of falling. I could not commit because I was scared. I stayed on my feet and went through the motions. I learned, believe me I learned the shit out of racing. But I never pushed my boundaries or saw what was possible beyond what I knew. The first time I crash-landed off of a park jump, everything I had learned my whole life clicked. Failing was not scary; it was enlightening.
I wouldn’t be a “ski bum” working towards a professional skiing career right now if I never gave myself a chance to fall. I’d be walking the line to safety and security. I’d have a different challenge and different set of goals, and you’d better bet your ass I’d “give them 100%”. Of course with any challenge comes a chance of failure, but the failure wouldn’t be as great or as literal as what I’m learning now.
“Adults”, I understand why it makes you queasy to watch me walk a tightrope, when with every step I risk failure, falling, and costly consequences. But if the stove is hot I’ll just have to find out for myself how hot it really is. Along with your fears and skepticism, you’ve also voiced your own regrets. I’ve heard those too and I refuse to let you forget them. I won’t miss out, and I won’t “wait till later” because “later” is the biggest gamble out there.
So “Adults”, I just wanted to let you know I’ve been listening. I’ve considered everything you’ve said whether it was solicited advice or not. I’ve considered it, stored it, utilized it. Despite my difficulty in deciphering your conflicting advice, my response is this: Thank you for caring enough to worry, but I’ve got this; I’ve accepted the risk and I’m going to giv’er hell.