Fall is one of my most favorite seasons. The leaves crunching under my feet, the cool breeze hitting my face. Pumpkin iced coffee’s two blocks away, loose sweaters, and falling leaves. One day, on a simple stroll through the autumn scenery, it got me thinking. Looking up at all the trees, searching among the branches, wondering how it appeared there, wondering what secrets were hidden within its roots.
I started thinking about what led me here, in this very moment. Was it following a map given to me from someone else? Was it remaining still till the right moment? Was it creating my own path within a maze? Was I still in the maze, screaming “let me out!”? Eventually, I realized that just like the seasons, everything connects. The decisions we make, the doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live. It is what decides where we come from, where we go, and how far we go. It is what led me exactly where I was.
There are many doors that we have to go through in life, many we can’t seem to open, and many we walk right past without another thought. Some of the doors we open teach us something, some test us, and some disappoint us.
Sometimes there is a door in front of me and I am unsure what to do. I am thinking more, and doing less. Trying to think of a strategy with a Plan A, B, and C. You could say I’m situated in an “idle” mode. Staring at this door, afraid of what might be behind it. I start to think too much and create a problem that isn’t even there.
What we need to understand is making progress involves risk. Nobody ever feels 100% ready. Great opportunities force us to grow beyond our comfort zones. I know that if you are always planning, you won’t ever do it. Doing something and getting it wrong ten times is better than doing nothing. Defeat isn’t failure. Every success has a trail of failures behind it. You can’t get to success without failure. There is always something to be learned. Don’t be afraid. Taking a risk means you are not following the path set out for you, you are making your own path. Always trust your gut and your inner timing. Do not base your timing on the rest of the world. If you’re worried that you will never have enough money, enough time, enough skill, you will never get to where you need to be.
Maybe there is a door you want to open but someone is whispering, “grow up”. Be brave in those moments. I know you are scared. Scared of the opportunity, scared of what might not be there, but always step through those doors. Always be slightly braver than you are scared. The doors you are afraid to open, the fences built around you by others, and the walls you yourself have put up – it will stop nothing. If you want something badly enough, desire will find a way in.
Many of us have gone to school, hoping that education would open many, many doors or allow us to escape the room we have been trapped in for far too long. However, I am sure most of you have learned that these doors are still shut tight. If you cannot open a door, build a window. No opportunity is perfect and you probably won’t love every choice you make, but you’ll learn and you’ll move on.
You want to plan your future? You want to paint that door and plan everything that goes within it? Even if you think about it for a second, it will change. So you can stand there in front of the many doors set in front of you and choose to be afraid. You can tremble and assume the worst. Or you can step forward. Step into the unknown. Beyond those doors are stories you have never told. It will change the color of your thinking.
And what happens when we are trying to open an invisible door? One that doesn’t even exist. You want to graduate from school and have an office waiting for you. You want to fall in love the moment your eyes meet. You want to exist in a city that has nothing to offer you. What do I do now? It’s funny sometimes, “Life’s plans”. You plan and plan. You want this and this at this time and this time. Just like the weather, you have next to no control what happens in your life. But I can tell you, there is something inside of you guiding you. Follow it. Don’t silence it.
Walking down the path that day I realized there was some kind of great beauty in getting lost. That all I could do was accept what is and what was. And as I stood there, the wind blowing the leaves in every direction, I was waiting. Breathing in the moment, waiting for what would come next.
There are doors to the future, doors that your children will only be able to open, and doors that will only be opened when someone has given you the key. So when you are brave enough and you step into a new experience, a new life, enjoy it. Enjoy every day. What you are going to achieve will not be one day, it will be the sum of a hundred or more days. It will be a sum of all the moments where you have lived. Go ahead. Open the door. Have the courage to go beyond it.
“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths” – Walt Disney