Be Brave. Be Strong. Be True.

We all have different stories, we all have different paths to tread, and we all have different meaning in our life. My life has been a serious of epic adventures (or that’s at least how I like to look at it). An adventure doesn’t always mean something fun and exciting, they can also be as small as trying a new restaurant to as big as moving to a new city. Every adventure though is personal, it teaches about life and about ourselves.

Webster defines Adventure as “an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks.”

The summer before I started high school my family was faced with our biggest adventure that influenced the course of my life forever. That was the summer my dad was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. (Yes, that is what took both Steve Jobs and Patrick Swayze from our world too soon.) For those that don’t know this form of cancer is one of the most deadly you can be diagnosed with. We did what every family does when you get that type of news; research, doctors visits, pray, and prepare. It’s all you can do. You also have to remember that the world is still revolving and you have homework and tests to prep for. After months of uncertainty and bad news we finally received some good news. My dad is part of the 1% of people diagnosed that has a slow growing form. So we live with it, monitor it, and continue seeing doctors to get on new trials for medication. One of the things I can’t stress enough for any one going through this, I know it will probably be one of the worst things (if not the worst thing) you have to deal with in your life, but remember to keep open lines of communications with the ones you love. No matter what the news is, good or bad, you need that support system.

This adventure while ongoing has also taught me that in this life you have to be strong, be brave, and be true if you are to achieve your dreams.

Be strong for yourself and your family.

Be brave and accept new challenges to keep moving forward.

Be true to yourself. Spend the time to learn who you are and what you want out of this life, then chase it.

My dream was/is to travel the world, explore and respect nature, inspire and bring joy to as many people as possible. Yes it means I am not home often and Yes that makes me nervous. I cannot tell you how many times I have thought about getting a call (the call) and missing something important. I cannot tell you how many times I have come up with a plan for what I would do if something were to happen.

But, I also think about what I want and what my parents want for me. How upset they would be, and how disappointed I would be in myself, if I didn’t chase my dreams. If I didn’t pursue my goals in this life just because of uncertainty or the great “What if?”

So that is what I try to do everyday, evaluate my life and think “Is this the direction I want to be going. Is this how I want to leave my mark?” Let me just say the answers to these questions have pushed me into some crazy adventures. For starters, I moved out of state for college, won a Big 12 championship, survived a school shooting, and snorkeled on the Great Barrier Reef. I moved again for a job at an aquarium and ended up getting bitten by basically everything there, including a sea turtle (I still have the scar), and stung by a Lionfish.  I have lived in the 305 (Miami for those not in the know, I didn’t when I moved there), met some of my closet friends while at grad school there, got my masters, and almost got struck by lightening on the 4th of July. I have learned how to prepare and weave together the threads of leaves from the women living in a small village in Panama. I have met and made friends with people all over the world.

I am on a continuous hunt to seek out my next adventure and encourage you to do the same. I know that it will not always be easy, that there will always be uncertainty or doubt. It may hurt sometimes to take a leap of faith or to make a change. But you only have one life to live, so you have to live for yourself. It’s always good to have roots, but it is also good to grow and branch out to create a life you will be proud to call your own.

As Nelson Mandela said, “There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”


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