Into the wild

TrailThere is something to be said for following your dreams. There is a raw truth in it, a naked vulnerability.

When we follow our dreams along safe paths and set goals along well-trodden trails, we know where we will end up. There is still value in the journey, for progress along the safe path is still progress.

What happens when the dreams don’t follow the path though?

What happens when a new trail must be blazed, or the one we choose to follow can barely be seen?

I have a good friend who challenges me to live in the “What if?” of life.

No dream is too scary, no goal too large.

When we ask each other these questions, these life-altering, bigger than ourselves, take us into the wilds questions, they usually start with “what if I…” Most people would shy from this. My friend has taught me to say, “ok, so what if you did. What would that look like?”

Some of these conversations lead to the conclusion that the risk of cutting the new trail is not outweighed by the reward, and the “What if?” is left there.

Other conversations though, they are where life gets interesting.

These “What if?” questions led me to seek my Associate’s Degree at 35 with four kids at home.

They led me to change my focus from the preplanned Elementary Education to the unknown of Journalism.

They were part of the cause of my being involved in a lawsuit against my local community college for freedom of speech violations that landed us testifying in federal court.

That case and testimony led me to win a Free Press Champion Award.

Following this logic led me to launch a crowdsourced independent newspaper in the summer after my graduation.

These same two words have landed me back in college again at 40, taking classes towards a double bachelor’s degree.

There are decisions on the horizon. There always are. Some large, some small, some safe, some not.

I am so grateful for and sometimes terrified of the conversations that begin with “what if?” They challenge my comfort. They have the potential to change my path through this world or even cause me to leave the path behind and leap into the wild.

The wild is where the risk is. It is where the dream is the biggest, the challenge the greatest, and the reward more than we can even imagine.