Today I watched myself age six years in less than ten minutes.
Technology is a blessing and a curse. On one hand, I can review my entire life at the touch of a button— I can reminisce and look through childhood pictures— but on the other: the cringe of seeing vague and slightly passive aggressive statuses doused with teen angst from 2008 is a little excessive.
But despite the cringe, social media is a pretty good meter for measuring change.
A week or so ago, I went out with a better-than-decent-looking Australian man who happened to be passing through my city.
He’s off doing bigger and better things now— you know: living his dream, taking no prisoners, the usual— but while he was here we had some great conversation. It reminded me of an old friend of mine in Melbourne, and the chats we used to have. I hadn’t talked to him in what feels like forever, but he’s not one of those people you ever really forget about.
There are a few kinds of people you never fully forget:
The ones who makes you feel special. The ones who make you feel important, and the ones who try to take that away.
Thankfully, he was the former. When we met over half a decade ago, he was the first person I came across who did that for me.
So, for the hell of it, I went through our old messages.
Reading through our exchanges, through our disconnection and random reconnections—I watched myself grow up.
More than that, though: I saw the spark I used to have— the one I’m currently working so hard to get back.
It’s the flame that’s extinguished when your adult-self comes to terms with the fact that it’s okay not to live your dream; That it’s okay to compromise on your vision, because anything else feels less impossible— because compromising on your dream is easier and safer than taking the risks to follow it.
Compromise is a big part of life—but an even larger part is being willing to make sacrifices for what actually matters.
For my friend, it was his dream of becoming an architect. When we reconnected, I found out that he actually did it. He’s finished University, gotten his Master’s, gotten married, and become an architect.
He’s living his dream.
But even more important than that: his spark is still there.
Adulthood isn’t inherently this dream-mangling vampire— a monster wanting nothing more than to suck your passions dry.
It’s the opposite of that. Adulthood gives you the opportunity to make a choice— are your dreams and passions important enough for you to take responsibility for achieving them?
If not, what is?
To say that life is challenging is an understatement. The complications can seem to pile on more and more every day.
But when you focus on what’s important— on what really fulfills you— and when you make those tough decisions: Nothing can stop you.
When you’re living your dream, that little flame only shines brighter.