Seven months ago, sitting alone in my apartment, my back in pain and my life not going anywhere, I thought, “If I have a heart attack, I don’t think I”ll call an ambulance.” That would be it. I would simply check out. I was 27-years old, but what did I have to live for? Worse, I seemed incapable of changing my life.
That was the start of this blog. I thought I’d give it one more try, one year to really get my shit together and to try to make a change: Change for a Year. That was seven months ago. The power of dreams is a funny thing.
As long as I can remember, I’ve really only wanted two things from life — well, three once I hit puberty, but this goes back further than that. I wanted to run, and I wanted to write, and in both of these respects I’ve been an absolute failure.
Sure, I’ve written. I even received a paycheck for an article I wrote shortly after high school: Another Day, Another Rejection Letter. It was the first time I’d been paid to write, a grand total of $15, Canadian funds, if I remember correctly — my international pay day. And sure, I’ve run. My junior year of high school I ran my way down to 204 pounds before springing up to 371 when sitting in that apartment. Something has always pulled me away from those dreams: maybe fear, maybe laziness, maybe something else.
But here’s the thing about your dreams: you can’t get away from them. They’re always there, tugging at you around the edges. Sometimes you don’t even know it. I didn’t.
When I think of the happiest times in my life, the times I was most content: three moments stick out. First, I was fifteen years old, writing an awful book I never finished and hosting a writing contest over at writing.com. The world was full of possibilities. Second, it was 5 a.m. and the middle of winter. I’d been struggling with running for months through my heart nearing explosion and shins on fire. The snow was falling. The town was asleep, and I jogged through it, the white snow crunching under my feet and falling flakes reflecting off the street lights. It was the three most peaceful miles I’d ever ran, and the first time I truly enjoyed running. I thought then I’d run forever. A few months later I stopped. That was four years ago. Third, I spent a year living in Florida just 20 minutes from the beach. There were girls, and I was young.
I’d given up on those dreams. Now, in my first year, I’m down 40 pounds and writing every day. Depression has a way of working it’s tentacles into everything. So does hope. In March I stepped down from my old job and began freelance writing part time. In May I stumbled into a gig. This week I became their editor. Sometimes you dream of one thing — going vegan and losing weight — and find those other tentacles slipping their way back into your life.
All my life I’ve dreamed of working at a magazine. Now that world has gone online. Over the next year HackSurfer is going to become the go-to place for anything and everything about cybercrime: for businesses, for cybersecurity experts, for individuals. I really think it’s going to be amazing, and I get to be a part of that. I get to be a part of taking this boring, eyes-glazed-over topic that affects nearly everyone’s life and cut through the bullshit and the geek talk and bring that discussion to the mainstream — right where it needs to be. It’s exciting, and in the process I get to live my dream.
Why do I tell you this? Simple. I think that’s the key to change really: just doing it. It’s easy to wait, to do nothing. And I easily could have done that my whole life. So I hope in the coming years, as this yearly adventure continues, that others will be inspired to make a change. I’m sure I won’t hit all my goals, and I’m sure you won’t hit all of yours either. But I’m inspired by those around me who do great things in their own small way, and together our dreams can change, if not the whole world, at least our little corner of it.
That’s a reason to hope and to dream. And to live.