There's doing and there's thinking about doing, but only one is actually doing.
For whatever reason, many people wait for permission to do what they really want to do, myself usually included.
I'm not saying that if you want to be an astronaut you should just quit what you're doing and go to space. Believe me, I did that once. I did get to space, but it was no easy task getting back. The movie "Gravity" is loosely based on my adventure. I haven't seen it yet, but if it ends like my time afloat in space did, there's a monkey riding a space scooter. He's the one that propelled out from our makeshift spaceship and brought me back. All in all I'd say it was bananas!
For the record, I also went to space a different time when I found Michael Jordan at the center of the universe. That's an even wilder story.
It's a strange thing to take part in, waiting to do what you really want to do. Lots of people work a job they hate and make time for their passion at nights and during weekends. As the years pass by, nights and weekends become just weekends, which becomes half a day every other weekend, which becomes once in a while gosh I can't remember the last time I did what I loved, which becomes an entire career doing the thing you did just to support your passion in the first place, which becomes a midlife crises.
Often it really is a time-based thing, as most craft requires years and years to hone in on and master. This is years and years of really working at whatever craft is one's passion, though, not just waiting years and years to actually start practicing it fully. Some say it takes 10,000 hours to master something, but I think that is preposterous--assuming you never sleep or do anything else, that's just over a year's time. If that's all it takes to master something, then almost every single American is currently a master of Facebook. We all are, but we know that that mastery has taken us some 50,000 hours.
Whether it be in-the-field validation, a change of place to take the craft seriously, sacrificing activity fluff outside of one's passion, or a number of other made up or realistic--and difficult, no doubt--restrictions and decisions, most fizzle out from something they always wanted to do. That's the reality of why every single dad is not the greatest NFL quarterback of all time, no matter what he tells you. It's not necessarily a bad thing to fizzle out from something. We all have many dreams, but we can't live them all. Just because I'm not a starting NFL quarterback--which, believe it or not I am not, though I definitely could have been were it not for that one time when...--doesn't mean I'm not doing something else I enjoy and am good at.
Life is short and usually difficult. All we can do is be honest and give ourselves the best shot we can at success. If something does fizzle, that's fine. It's just time for the next thing. If it fizzled because we didn't give it a real shot, that's a shame, but it's how it is, so it's time to move on and not beat ourselves up about it. Regret easily becomes constant and constant regret breeds constant inability to do the next thing.
Also, lack of success doesn't have to mean lack of happiness. So, in short, do something you like to the fullest of your abilities, get good at it, and make happiness. If unhappy, do something else. Surround yourself with people who make you happy, too. That's incredibly important. Finally, don't begrudge yourself for failing and don't hate others who succeeded at something you did not. 20-something year old professional athletes are certainly phenoms, but they put in all the work to polish their talent. Everyone has a place in the process, and watching a master of craft is pretty awesome, too.
We forget about it sometimes, but things seem to go better when we smile.
It was finally October 1st, 2085: Mixed Race Day. I'd been waiting for this day for years, a day I always dreamed of but never imagined would really happen. Yet, today was really the day, and the day was really Mixed Race Day. Simply incredible.
I got to Ohio Stadium around five that morning, the first person in line. As we all know, this is an amazing feat, as after the 2062 declaration that made all of Ohio a gigantic sports multiplex, initiated by The Ohio State University after twenty-two consecutive NCAA football national championships, 99% of the time people were waiting in line for some event or another. Apparently the long distance monster truck boxing puzzle challenge from the night before ended late enough where I caught a rare lull at Ohio Stadium. I was sure one happy smallest man in the world.
Only three hours later, the line stretched all the way back to Chicago, filling all of the Indiana You're Just Passing Through Anyway Walkway. At 8:30, after two cups of coffee brought to you by Coca-Cola and a bag of Kraft Jet-Puffed Miniature Marshmallow, the Ohio gates finally opened. I headed the rush in and was able to get a great seat, right on the middle of the field at the 500,000 yard line. I started up my Apple iCatheter--obviously, we all use them--and waited. Then, at 9:00, the race was finally ready.
It was an incredible field of competitors. There was the man who always wanted to race NASCAR; the woman who always wanted to be a professional cyclist; the kid who always wanted to be a car in the Pinewood Derby; the horse who always wanted to race the Kentucky Derby; the dog who always wanted to be a dog that races motorcycles; a 1990s electronic belt buckle that always read "Get It Here" with an arrow pointing straight down but wanted to read "Go Go Go!"; a crow; the man who always wanted to be a dog that races motorcycles; and, finally, Aaron Sorkin on a motorized typewriter. Aaron Sorkin is always hatching clever schemes for new shows.
The starter spoke into a microphone, which projected out through the electronic speaker clouds in the sky above Ohio. "People of Planet Exxon, welcome to the first annual Mixed Race Day! Racers of Mixed Race Day, good luck to all of you. The winner of today's race, as you all know, gets a shot to do something they actually want to do. May the fastest man, woman, animal, mechanical device, or Aaron Sorkin win."
"I might!" yelled Aaron Sorkin. He was kind of running out of witty dialogue at this point, but based on all that he's already done, can you blame him?
Man, I wish I could wish to do something, I thought.
"No you don't, Mac Samson," said the Apple iThink implanted in my brain directly into my head. "You want to buy, consume, watch, and see what trouble Penny, Sheldon, and Leonard get into on tonight's all new episode of The Big Bang Theory!"
Yes I do! I thought.
The starter raised his pistol into the air, fired off an aerial explosive device, and the Mixed Race was finally off. The competitors flew, drove, ran, biked, and wrote out of the gates. The audience went wild, sending forth a billion likes into The Cloud at once. The racers raced ahead, faster and faster. It was neck and neck and hood and handlebar and typewriter. Penny kissed Leonard then they broke up and got back together again. It was all so close.
But then the man who always wanted to race NASCAR crushed everyone because he was in a race car.
In the end, we all won Mixed Race Day. The man who won went on to race NASCAR and we all loved it because NASCAR is the official sport of the Planet Exxon Olympics as brought to you by Pfizer featuring Jay Z Enterprises.
I don't know how it's all going to turn out and it's most definitely a good thing I can't know. The future might suck, but it also might not.
Either way, I'm going to go ahead and do something now, something I want to do.