Erin announced recently that’s she preparing for a big move to Chicago. It seemed like an appropriate time to give her a little sisterly advice…
Carpe diem is a very cliche thing to say to a young creative woman heading out on her own to try to make it in the big city. “Of course,” you may think. “Isn’t that the whole point?”
But as your older and wiser sister, I have something to tell you that you may not know. Normal, everyday days do not often seem worthy of seizing. The daily grind of finding food to eat, keeping your clothes clean, doing whatever job you can find so you can pay the rent, and the cable bill, and the electricity, all so you can veg out I front of the TV at the end of a long day — those days can be boring and don’t appear to have a lot of opportunity in them. “What’s worth seizing?” you may ask. So days will slip by, then weeks and months until you find yourself several years older and no closer to your dream.
So really… Carpe Diem, sister.
You won’t know what the day holds for you until you go ahead and do the hard work of seizing it. And it will be hard work. To truly seize the day you’ll have to work hard at undreamy things so you can stay alive, because being alive is the only way you’ll ever find the chance to work hard on your dreams. You’ll have to take every sliver of time you can find to write and create. There will be times when you’ll wonder if all this hard work is getting you anywhere. If it’s all worth it. Let me tell you, it’s getting you a lot farther than doing nothing. It’s getting you a lot farther than a lot of other people get – those people waiting around for the right day to seize.
You have an opportunity here that not everyone gets. I got married right after college. I don’t regret a second, but my adult life has never been only about me. I’ve never made a decision that didn’t have to take someone else into account. A good marriage takes sacrifice. Being a parent takes even more. I sometimes wonder what I would have become if I had had the opportunity to be selfish for a while. To chase after my dreams with no restrictions. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t be much farther along. I wouldn’t have recognized a few years living the single life as the opportunity it would have been. Just as I didn’t recognize the vast amounts of free time I had before becoming a mother until all that time was suddenly gone. So as only a person looking in retrospect can say, Carpe diem.
Not to be all doom and gloom on you here. Just because you miss seizing one day doesn’t mean you can’t seize the next. I’m writing these admonitions as much for me as for you. And it doesn’t have to mean shutting yourself in all day so you can work, work, work either. Enjoy the ride. Savor the experience. Try new things. Don’t be afraid to be who you’ve always wanted to be. Insert other cliche encouragements here. They’re only cliche because they’re good things to say.
I’m excited for you, sister. You’re on the cusp of a dream come true. And if you ever need a little encouragement, just give me a call. I’m happy to say “Rah! Rah! You can do it!” until the cows come home. And since I don’t have any cows, that could go on indefinitely.