Friday, January 10, 2014

Live Dangerously

"All men dream, but not equally.  Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was all vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible."  T.E. Lawrence, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom
People are dreamers, but too often we kid ourselves about our dreams.  We tell ourselves "If only" and "It's too big" and "I could never."  "Life is what it is," we say.  "Too late to change things now."

"It's Impossible."  With a capital "I".

But every day we don't take the path less traveled is a lost opportunity.  See, the "Impossible" is seldom actually impossible.  Usually it means "improbable" and is accompanied by the discomfort of the unknown, and the suspicion that it's going to be a lot of work to make it happen.  Challenging?  Yes.  Impossible?  No.

Take my friend Jon.  Early on, he knew he wanted to be a missionary.  He went to school, got the training, married a like-minded woman, and together they equipped themselves to follow this calling.  Then he took a pastoral position in a church, they settled in, had four kids, and began to think that the dream was over.  I mean, is it really responsible to take your kids overseas like that?  Then, while on a short-term mission trip to Bolivia, Jon met a missionary.  This man had a wife and five kids.  In Bolivia.  Jon had a heart-to-heart with his wife, and together they did some serious soul searching.  Today they're missionaries in Prague.  Czech Republic, baby!

Or my friend Luke.  He and his wife were born and raised in the USA, yet somehow they seem to have English souls.  They just spent the holidays in London.  Why?  They love the UK!  So much so that they're considering the prospect of moving there, if only temporarily.  It's too early to tell if their plans will pan out, as they still have some petty logistics to work out - things like visas and money and food and shelter.  Time will tell.  I hope they make it.

"I get a lot of email from people who say that this is their dream, but that their situation prevents them from doing it themselves.  These people are fooling themselves and wasting their opportunity.  Imagine you're 90 years old with terminal cancer.  Now would you have done it?  Because in a blink of an eye you're going to be 90 years wondering where your whole life went."  - Brad van Orden, author of Drive Nacho Drive, in an interview with Overland Journal

For some, "Impossible" might involve vast landscapes with names like Everest, or Patagonia, or heck, the moon.  For most of us, "Impossible" is likely to be a little closer to home.  Lose weight.  Run a seven-minute mile.  Travel more.  Move to a different country.  Write a book.  Go back to school.  Start a new career.  Create a new life.

For my wife and I, our "Impossible" began the day I gave my two weeks notice back in August, 2012.  Today, my lovely wife Stacy brings home the bacon while she trains for a marathon, and I homeschool our son, and get to ride my bike pretty much whenever I want.

"This row across the Atlantic Ocean will create memories that you will take to your grave.  The dolphins, the sharks, the storms, the struggles - it's all priceless.  Your years of work will all blur into one another.  But this year won't.  Believe me, forty years down the road, you're not going to kick yourself for having rowed across an ocean."  - Julie Angus, author of Rowboat In A Hurricane

As our life unfolds, what used to appear to be "impossible" has become our "normal."  Then a funny thing starts to happen.  New dreams arise, new goals appear on the horizon.  Ultra-marathon?  Tour Divide?

Impossible?  Time will tell.

In the mean time, we live a life with no regrets.

What's your "Impossible" dream?  Live dangerously.