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Thursday, August 20, 2009

If Not Now, When?

I'm reminded again of the fragility of life. This morning I learned that a woman I work with and have known for years was taken to the hospital yesterday. She'd had a stroke and was continuing to have strokes at the hospital. The last update I've received said that she's doing well and undergoing surgery for a blockage in her neck. I've been stunned all day. It was a reminder that none of us know how much time we have on this Earth.

And it reminded me of the "some day" people. The ones who have a dream, something they always wanted to do--some day.

I blogged once on another site about pursuing dreams and was amazed at the rancor that showed up in the comments. Here I thought it was an uplifting and empowering post and I was hearing things that were so negative about the topic that I was shocked. Of course there are limitations. If you've always wanted to be an Olympic gymnast and you're out of your teens, that boat has sailed. Or if you want to be a jet pilot, but the cost of the flying lessons would be a hardship for your family, then of course, you can't pursue it right now. That's not what I meant.

Because I'm an author, I've had a lot of people come up to me and say, "I've always wanted to write a book." I used to reply with, "then you should!" And that's when I got the yeah, buts. There are a billion excuses you could put in the blank, but the most frequent was yeah, but I don't have time. I used to tell them that there's never time to write, that you have to make it. Like instead of watching some lame reality show, spend that hour writing. There'd be more excuses. Always. And that's when I stopped trying to encourage people to pursue their dream of writing. When they tell me know that they want to write a book some day, I tell them that's great and leave it at that.

If they're not passionate enough about something they call their dream, there's nothing I can do to change that for them.

I know pursuing dreams isn't easy and I've spent a lot of years in my life not writing seriously or even not writing at all. I understand the fear of pursuing a dream and failing. Or succeeding. I also know that people who do pursue their dreams draw anger and animosity from those who haven't had the courage to chase their passion. Maybe it's because they don't want to see someone taking the chance they're too frightened to take themselves. I don't know.

What I do know is that if you've always wanted to write, or learn to dance, or draw, or learn to crochet, then you should do it. Now. Life is short. My coworker's sudden stroke is proof of that.