A couple years ago, I was standing in the front row of a Led Zeppelin cover band show, happily jamming out to the encore songs until the singer, who eerily resembled Robert Plant, stopped singing and the show was over. They had played several encore songs, so there was no question that the show was over. The lights turned on, the Jimmy Page-looking man took off his double-neck guitar; it was officially time to clear the venue.
But then the drummer stood up and looked out into the crowd, drum stick in hand. We all knew what was to happen next, and the crowd’s anticipation was palpable. Everyone around me including myself threw up our arms and tried to get as tall as possible (a difficult task for someone my size). All of a sudden, the John Bonham man nonchalantly tossed his stick into the crowd, and it went straight to the women to my left. BUT SHE MISSED. The stick somehow bounced out of her hands and landed in front of the gate separating us from the stage. So what does she do? She waves to the performers still on stage, trying to signal to them to get the stick for her. I guess she figured the stick was meant for her, so John Bonham man would go out of his way to get off the stage, find the stick, and hand it to this random woman.
After watching with shock for about 30 seconds as this woman tried to wave down the drummer while saying “that’s mine!”, I asked myself “WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!?” Before I knew it, I was swinging my legs over the gate, grabbing the drum stick, and storming past the security guards, out the doors, and into the parking lot, my body overflowing with adrenaline. I was freaking euphoric. Led Zeppelin is one of my favorite bands, the concert was awesome, the drum solos were amazing, and now I had the perfect souvenir—a drum stick with all the well-earned dents in it to remind me of it all.
It’s way too often that people say to me “Ah, I’m jealous that you’re traveling there, I’ve always wanted to do something like that.” These were the first words out of peoples’ mouths when I told them I was doing my big road trip after graduation, and it’s still the first words I hear when I tell people about my travels in Africa.
The point of this post is to tell you to GO AFTER WHAT YOU WANT IN LIFE OR YOU WON’T GET IT. Life doesn’t wait for you. There will be no perfect time to do what you want to do, the only perfect time is now. Don’t fool yourself into thinking the future is guaranteed, and that once you “do this one thing,” then you’ll be able to do what you want. Just freaking do it right now. Buy the plane tickets, pack your stuff, make the move, do whatever you have to do to get to where you truly want to be. It literally pains me to hear people say “I wish I could do that!” or “I’ve always wanted to do that!” because my instinct reaction is, “well, why haven’t you?” The answers are never convincing.
It was my dream to live in Senegal, so what did I do to make the dream a reality? I didn’t wait for life to hand me the perfect situation; I focused all of my energy into applying for a single job that would put me here in a few short months. I had to say goodbye to friends and family and boyfriend, and it wasn’t easy, but it got me to where I truly wanted to be.
I didn’t wait for life to hand me the drum stick; I jumped over the hurdles, grabbed what I wanted like it was mine, and ran with it. And I encourage you to do the same, because the future is never guaranteed.