At first glance there are honestly not too many pivotal moments in my life. Not that I have had a ‘cushy’ life or anything like that, but in the past I have just gone with the flow too often. The problem is that making a choice that seems easy, or seems like the only choice, can leave you worse off than you already were.
All my siblings went straight to university after high school, therefore I did too. They did it for the right reasons, but me – I’m not so sure. After one year of mediocre grades I found I wasn’t enjoying myself, or even making any friends, for that matter. I panicked and dropped out. Then I spent about two and a half years meandering in and out of part time jobs that I hated. I spent my time dwelling on what on earth I was going to do with my life. It was mid-January, and I had just started a job washing cars.
I swear to God, it took so much out of me every day to get up and go do that job. Every shift was a struggle, and I fantasized about walking out the front door every minute. I think I just kind of snapped one day because I went home and started browsing plane ticket prices. I always wanted to travel but had never had the money to pursue it. It was as good a time as any to go. I bought a round trip plane ticket to Bangkok, Thailand. Just me, and nobody else. I had eight weeks to make my way around South East Asia.
I spent a full week without telling almost anyone about it. It was this enormous, exhilarating secret that I had all to myself, and it was so satisfying to know I had chosen it totally independently.
No one talked me into it, and nobody could talk me out of it. The ticket was paid for and that was that.
It was probably eight of the greatest weeks of my entire life. I won’t kid you and say I took up Buddhism, became a master of meditation, or transcended to a higher plane or something…But I felt so much more self-reliant and just – corny-as-hell – free to be me. I ate what I wanted, went where I wanted, said what I wanted, and met more people than I even remember. I scaled cliffs on the ocean, drove mopeds in Thai rush-hour traffic, ate barracuda, visited a 1000-year-old temple, and watched my friend fire a rocket launcher in the Cambodian jungle.
I bought a digital camera before my trip that happened to take HD video and thought, “What the heck, I’ll try and make a video out of it.” By the time I got home I had hours of footage, and I stepped off the plane with years’ worth of self-confidence.
If I hadn’t gone on that trip, I would be in a totally different place. Maybe I would still be working awful jobs that were making me unhappy. Maybe I would be seeing someone, but still unhappy. Doing an injustice to myself, and more importantly her. If I never went, I wouldn’t have realized how passionate I was about putting my experiences into words. I would not have sat down and started editing trip footage, realizing that I was absolutely enthralled by it. Spending hours on end staring at a screen, getting it just perfect, and yet – loving every moment of it. I wouldn’t have considered Red River College, or Creative Communications. I would be bored, directionless, and scared.
I am still, more or less, terrified in my everyday life these days, but I am engaged in my life. That simple difference changes everything.
Here’s the video from my trip. It’s a little amateur-y, but it is my heart and soul essentially. I’m not even entirely sure what I mean by that, but it feels right.
(This was Blog Challenge #3: Rewrite one important moment of your life and theorize where you might be today based on the change you made)