By: Shannon Gardner, Guest Blogger
In a couple weeks, I am packing up a single full-to-the-brim suitcase to chase a dream of mine; spending the summer living and working in The Rocky Mountains of Colorado working with middle school girls, hiking the great outdoors, and saying “see ya later!” to cell-service for a few months.
This is the first time in my life that I have chased after a dream with full-force, consciously deciding to put aside the sentiments of others as well as my own anxious thoughts. I’ve heard everything from “Wow, have fun with that…you’re going to be exhausted.” To “You’ll be so out of touch, doesn’t that freak you out?” Of course it does! I’m terrified, because it’s our natural inclination to fear the unknown. But, I am choosing not to let my fears stop me from pursuing my passions for traveling and having an impact on kids.
Sometimes following our hearts involves making big sacrifices, too! For me, trade-offs include spending a few months almost 2,000 miles away from my family and well over a year without seeing some of my nearest and dearest friends. For you, following your dreams may involve even bigger, deeper sacrifices that can be extremely difficult to make!
Despite coming face-to-face with tough decisions, I think when you choose to embrace a challenge, take a risk, choose to run with a passionate love for something even when society rains on your parade, you are making the world a more colorful place. Not only are you committing to becoming stronger, you are also shedding a very bright light on the world around you--one that only you can shed!
Your dreams may scare you, they may scare your loved ones even more, and they may make other people look you up and down. But at the end of the day, the opinion that matters most is your own. While you will always have a few people trying to tear you down when you embark on a new endeavor, chances are you will have far more people inspired by you, proud of you and wanting to know if you have some sort of magical tool in your back pocket.
This is what I think the tool is:
Learning that your heart comes first.
Your support team comes second.
And the rest of the world comes in last.
You deserve to chase your dreams and live the life you’ve always imagined! And what is life without a little crazy? The road less travelled may not be the easy road, but I do believe that it is the one with the brightest light. After all, I would not be pursuing this adventure if it were not for the beautyFULL inspirational people I’ve listened to, spoken with, read about, and heard about. Don’t hesitate to show the world just how fabulous you are! Not only will you change your own life, but you make a difference in many others, too.
Shannon is a psychology student at The Ohio State University studying to be a school counselor. An optimist, dreamer and traveler from Upstate New York, she loves leading I Am That Girl Local: Ohio State Chapter and working with young kids. In her free time, Shannon enjoys running, photography and coffee dates!
Image via youthkiawaaz.com