The best advice I ever took was to follow my heart.
You've heard this so many times, by now it probably goes in one ear and out the other. But take a moment to really consider it:
FOLLOW YOUR HEART.
Act on your deepest desires, wishes, and goals. Our society spends so much time on the problems of the head (should I do this? how does it benefit me? I've got bills to pay, I don't have time, I'll do it someday), that we rarely listen to what our hearts are telling us. How would our worlds be different if we actually spent more time doing what we ACTUALLY wanted to do?
It's a folly to say that you don't have time. If you want something bad enough, you will MAKE the time. The universe has a funny way of letting us get what we want, as long as we really want it. It's also ridiculous how we put aside what we truly desire out of life in exchange for things we think we SHOULD want, or things that we HAVE to do. We only have this one life, people! Do you really want to spend it doing what you think is required?
For years, I'd dreamed of going to Ireland. I don't know exactly what it is about that country that originally spiked my interest--the green landscape, the culture, the magic that permeates through even the pictures, perhaps-- but I decided my junior year of high school that I would go there. Time flew by, as it often does when you are focusing on other things besides your dreams, and I realized that the thing holding me back was fear.
I made excuses every summer for not going to Ireland: 'There's no one to go with me, I have to work and save up, I'll go when I graduate.' When college graduation neared, and I realized that there was still no one to go with me, and I would NEVER think I had enough money, I knew I was either going to be a dreamer or a doer. I was sick of making excuses, sick of denying myself the one thing I'd wanted to do for years. I bit the bullet and bought a plane ticket to Ireland, set a week after graduation.
It changed my life.
Once you make the decision to act on your heart's desires, you become braver. More confident. More willing to rely on yourself. And, of course, you get to experience the things you'd previously only dreamed about. Going to Ireland challenged me in the best way possible. It also solidified some of my other goals.
Trust me when I say that going after what you want will benefit you in ways you can't even imagine.
It's time to pack away those excuses, face the fear that's holding you back, and take the first step towards your dreams. That's all it takes-- just one step. Mine was buying the plane ticket. Yours could be emailing that contact, posting an Etsy ad, or signing up for a certification class.
Whatever you do, just do it.
You won't regret it.
Kayla Maneen recently got her BFA in Creative Writing and minored in adventure and fun. After graduation, she worked on an organic farm in Ireland and taught English in Italy, and learned all there is to know about chasing sheep and eating long, leisurely meals with family. She is adamant about teens living out their passions and reaching their highest potentials. Always follow that fire in your heart!