Yesterday I watched Almost Famous. I’ve probably seen this movie a hundred times, and then a few. I adore it. I love the character of William, young kid who just wants to do what he loves – listen to music and write about it. (Plus, he’s the innocent virgin, so I get that.)
But there is also the character Penny Lane, this young mysterious beautiful girl with big dreams, a lovely imagination, and a love of life. I want to be her. She always talk about going to Morocco. Traveling to a new place and starting anew. She talks and talks and talks about her desire to make this change, to take this chance. But she doesn’t. She stays where she is most comfortable, with the people she knows and in places that are familiar.
“There’s no Morocco,” William finally says to her. “There’s never been a Morocco.”
Only the idea of it.
I’m probably more like her than I realized.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been thinking about where I want my life to go. Which direction I want it to take. I’ve been contemplating all the things I told myself I would have done by this time in my life. It would be easy to say that my dreams just weren’t in the cards; that the things I wanted to do simply didn’t fit into God’s plan for my life. I could blame finances, the bad economy, changing relationships, or emotional issues. I could blame my restlessness and dissatisfaction on anything I wanted.
And I have. Over and over again. I’ve lashed out with words and prayer. I’ve whined and complained. I’ve broken down and mourned the experiences that have passed me by. I’ve looked to God and asked Him, “Why? Why are you doing this to me? Why are you taking away the chances I want, not giving me right the opportunities?”
But I never blamed myself. I never looked inward and asked myself why I’ve let go of my supposed dreams so easily. Why I’m so quick to move on and pass things by. I’ve never allowed myself to be self critical in a productive way – a way that forces me to realize I’ve become far too comfortable in my complacency. It’s embarrassing and distressing.
And it’s my problem to solve.
I give up. I don’t fight for what I want. I dream big, and I do nothing. I allow myself to be brought down, and I tell myself I have to stay there. I run away. I’m good at it. It’s sad how easily I can turn my back, walking away from the tugs on my heart. Maybe I’ve told myself I don’t deserve them. Maybe I’ve told myself the time’s not right.
There are chances I’ve taken, but many I’ve let slip through my fingers. And maybe I held on to them for awhile, tried them on, attempted to make it work. But when things became hard, I told myself it wasn’t right. Doing the right thing should be easier. It should be effortless. Shouldn’t it?
Only life is messy. Life is hard. Life is stressful, draining, and sometimes devastating. Many times, things aren’t going to go the way we want. But that doesn’t mean we sit by idly, waiting for life to happen to us. We need to make life happen. We need to go into the world, into the life God has given us, and do what we’ve been called to do. We need to learn that if we aren’t selfish with our life, making the most of it and daring to want the best for ourselves, we will always be dissatisfied. We will always be left wanting. We will feel empty, lost, at loose ends.
So I’m going to be selfish. I’m going to want things, and I’m going to believe I can make them happen. I’m going to let the hopes and desires that I’ve told myself were impossible become real – I’m going to make them real. Because I can. Because I’m allowed to. Because my life won’t be wasted as I wait for someone else to make my dreams a reality.
A year from now, I want things to be different. I want something new. A year from now, I want to be able to look back and say I’m glad I risked it. I’m glad I took the chance. I want to revel in the failures and smile in the triumphs. I want to learn more about myself than I ever have, because I’m living out the life that God has given me. A year from now, I want to know that I made God proud.
A year from now…
I want to live somewhere new. A place that challenges me and makes me look at the world differently. I want to make a life for myself in a place that speaks to me.
I want to surround myself with people who make me smile, laugh, think, and reconsider what I know and teach me something.
I want to write with abandon. I want to write madly and passionately, because that’s the only way. And I want to share it with the world.
I want to take chances, not simply for the sake of taking chances, but for the sake of feeding my soul and allowing me to grow into the woman God intends for me to be.
I want to make a mistake. But I don’t want to run away from the consequences. I want to see it through and learn from it.
I want to find a job that fulfills my soul and lightens my heart. I want to do work that makes a difference, even if only for one person. I want to love what I do, because I’m passionate about it. I’m tired of compromising.
I want to stop worrying about the opinions of others; of what society or those around me will think and say. I want to live without fear, but also without being afraid of the fear.
I want to enjoy life – the little moments and the grand ones. I want to make memories and share them with the people I care about. I want to live in the moment, not as an excuse for recklessness, but as a way to appreciate the chances I’ve been given.
I want to go abroad. I want to see the places I love on paper. I want to walk around and allow them to leave their mark on me.
I want to stop waiting for others to determine my life. I want to stop looking out for confirmation of what I want, when God has already given me my calling. I want to be daring.
I want to live a good story, a story for God, a story that shows His love and grace.
A year from now, I want to look back and be able to say at least that I tried, with every fiber of my being, to do the things my heart and soul crave. I want to look over the last twelve months and not bemoan the things I didn’t do, but treasure the things I did do. I want to know God would never lead me to a place He couldn’t carry me through.
I want to go to Morocco. (And maybe get a tattoo.)
Thank you for reading! And maybe (definitely) follow me on Twitter. I’m pretty entertaining.