One of my favorite writers, Hunter S. Thompson wrote in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, “No sympathy for the devil; keep that in mind. Buy the ticket, take the ride…and occasionally if it gets a little heavier than what you had in mind, well…maybe chalk it up to forced consciousness expansion: tune in, freak out, get beaten.”
The most oft-quoted segment of those sentences is “buy the ticket, take the ride.” Everyone has dreams, but how many of us are willing to take risks in order for them to pay off?
In December 2016, in the space of two weeks, I: quit my job; moved out of my apartment in Kansas City; went to my last day of work; bought a one-way plane ticket to New York; packed a duffle bag and a large suitcase; and boarded a plane to the Big Apple without a confirmed job or apartment.
I’m not afraid of failing. I’m afraid of not trying. I don’t ever want to wonder about what might have been. Maybe I try this and it never gets off the ground. Not everything does, but at least I’ll never have to wonder. But for me, the satisfaction of saying I attempted it far outweighs whatever so-called consequences might come of failure.
I know too many adults who tell me, “If I was your age, this is what I would do.” Or “I wish I had [insert fill-in-the-blank dream here.]”
Another one of my favorite writers, Jay McInerney wrote in the 1980’s New York novel Bright Lights, Big City, “I think the difference between what we want and what we’re afraid of is about the width of an eyelash.”
It’s a joke among my friend group now that I’m always saying “follow your dreams” whenever someone mentions a goal or a place they would like to live. But what is a clichéd saying is more often than not a reminder of our own lack of fulfillment. The older we get, the easier it becomes to talk yourself out a dream; maybe you tell yourself it’s not the right time, or you convince yourself you never really wanted it to begin with.
So if there’s something that you’ve been waiting to do or see or say - now is the time. The truth is, if you’re waiting for the right moment, then it’ll have already passed you by. So buy the ticket, take the ride; maybe it works out, maybe it doesn’t but you’ll never have to wonder.
By Kathryn Greene