My 20 year high school class reunion was last year. When I got the invitation, I laughed out loud to myself and checked the box for, “Unable to attend.” I added a note at the bottom, “Have fun!” and mailed it back.
A few weeks later, our class Vice President messaged me on Facebook to ask why I wasn’t going. I wasn’t sure at first how to reply and considered just ignoring her message. A couple of days later, she wrote me again to say, “We’d all love to see you, please reconsider.”
I was actually going to be in my hometown the week of the reunion. It would be my first trip back to Michigan in over a year. I COULD attend. So why didn’t I want to? The more important question in my mind at the time was, “WHY would I want to go?” I hadn’t enjoyed high school very much and I hadn’t kept in touch with anyone other than an occasional message or “like” on Facebook. I don’t feel connected to any of those people anymore and my life has taken a MUCH different path than theirs.
Most of the people I went to school with still live in or near our hometown. Most are married, with kids. Based on their Facebook posts, they look fairly happy. But I wanted, no, NEEDED something more for myself.
After college, I pursued the life I thought I was supposed to have. I got married and got a good job. We bought a house. And we were sometimes even happy. But it wasn’t enough for me. I still had a burning desire in my heart for something MORE.
That desire led me to Thailand when I was 29-years-old. I’ve been here for the past 9 years, relentlessly pursuing my dreams of a life of MORE.
Back to my high school reunion. Our class VP messaged me a few more times before the reunion to ask me to come. The day of, she even offered to pay for my ticket if I would PLEASE COME just for a while. I replied to tell her thank you, but that I had other plans that night, which was true. After the reunion, which was being held at a restaurant, had already started, she messaged me to say, “You HAVE to come. You have the most exciting life of any of us.”
I don’t know how true that statement is but I can say that I AM happy with my life. Sure, I have problems just like everyone else. But for the most part, I’m doing what I love and surrounded by people who love and support me. I really couldn’t ask for much more.
So what happened to the people I went to high school with? Surely they had dreams of their own when they were younger. What held them back from pursuing them?
Was it lack of inspiration to begin or lack of motivation and support to continue?
I find inspiration everywhere I go. From the places I visit and people I meet, to the books I read and movies I watch. I have inspirational quotes and messages all over my walls and I surround myself with supportive people who inspire and motivate me to continue.
It’s not luck that I am where I am. And it took some hard work to get here and continues to take hard work. But when compared to the alternative of living a life I’m never quite happy with, it’s worth every step.
I love inspirational quotes and my amazing, supportive friends. But the truth is that what inspires me most are the stories of other people who have followed their passions and dreams and found their bliss. Somehow knowing that other, REAL people have, against the odds, found happiness, gives me the courage to pursue my own dreams. If they can live the lives they want, why can’t I?
In the coming months, I’d like to share with you the stories of the people who have inspired me most along the way, and who continue to inspire and motivate me, even today.