The responsibility to chase my dreams
Throughout my young-adult life I have not lost anyone close to me. I feel incredibly fortunate for this. In fact, until recently no one close to me has even become dangerously ill.
As a twenty four year old guy, I believe that my first responsibility is to myself. I believe that I should live a passionate and exciting life while I can. Right now I don’t have children of my own to take care of, and my parents are both healthy. When I do have my own children, and when my parents do become frail, I believe it will be my responsibility to help take care of them as best I can. But for now I can chase my dreams and live for myself. It is the thing that I love most about being a twenty-something.
As a child I dreamt of becoming a professional magician.
When I was five years old my Mother took me to buy shoes at the new shoe store in town. To my delight the owner kept a few magic tricks behind the counter – he himself used to be a magician. He sold me a very simple trick. There was a small red vase, and a small yellow ball. The magician repeatedly removed the ball from the vase, only to make it reappear inside. The man told me to work on the trick and then come back to show him my progress. Though I doubt he expected me to actually return, I did. We developed a rhythm. Once a week he would teach me a magic trick and then I would go home, practice, and return to show him my work.
Though neither one of us could have predicted it, we were building the foundation of an enduring relationship. Over the course of 13 years he guided me as I moved up from performing for my friends at daycare, to getting paid $10 for shows at birthday parties, to eventually performing for audiences all around the country. With his help (as well as the support and encouragement of my parents and brother) I did magic professionally until I graduated from high-school.
Though I didn’t realize it until I was much older, he wasn’t just teaching me the art of magic; he was teaching me the art of blending passion and patience so that I could chase my dreams throughout my life. He was a true mentor.
Three weeks ago I received a phone call. My mentor had fallen extremely ill. He was undergoing an operation the following morning that he may not survive.
This was a new feeling for me, a new reality – until then I never had to contemplate loosing someone so close to me. Through the fog that comes with this type of experience, I realized something that both inspired and frightened me: I don’t owe it just to myself to live passionately – I owe it to everyone who has helped me become who I am.
I realized that to do anything other than chase dreams, is not just a betrayal to myself, it is a betrayal to the people who have invested in making my life what it is.