A few weeks ago, while reading a masterpiece of a novel by John Green, I re-read one of the best quotes of my entire life. I automatically picked up my pen and quickly jotted down the brief, but precise, incredible words. Having a pen and notebook nearby has become a necessity of mine while I am reading. I learned long ago that just because you hear something significant and think you will never forget it, you are almost always ninety-nine percent wrong. I can’t tell you how many notebooks, random scrap pieces of paper, receipts, and even pages in my daily planner have words and sentences significant to maybe even no one but myself, scratched across their margins.
I can tell right away when I read something that I know I want to remember. And I knew this quote was something I wanted to write in huge, bold, underlined, letters across everything I owned.
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
How is it possible for a question to be so perfectly poised and not set your mind whirling? Answer: not possible. Last year I turned twenty-two, finally able to sing Taylor Swift’s 22 at the top of my lungs and have the time of my life while enjoying the perfectly incredible feeling of having the rest of my life in front of me. But in the back of my mind, I realized that I was already dreading being 23. That’s me, I thought. Always looking towards the future while forgetting to enjoy my present to it’s fullest. I decided then, that I would make the best out of my twenty-second year of living, my twenty-third and twenty- fourth year and so on. I would have no regrets about the way I spent this decade of my life.
Six months after I made this decision, I realized that in that time, I had spent 23 of those days traveling to three different countries, two continents, and also taking a trip along the entire East Coast. It’s always been a dream of mine to travel the world and I was finally doing it! And then I wasn’t. One of the best feelings in the world is dropping your luggage by the door, climbing into your pajamas, and sleeping the night away in bed that has been patiently waiting for your arrival since the day you left on the start of your adventures. And one of the worst feelings in the world is waking up in that bed the next morning and realizing that your adventures are over.
The first week of December found me arriving back from an incredible trip to Kenya, Africa and immediately falling into the holidays. This continued through the first part of January, the days whirling away, busy celebrating, planning, and ringing in the new year with goals, plans, hopes, and dreams.
And Then Everything Slowed Down.
One day I was busy celebrating the new year and new possibilities and the next day, I felt stuck in routine, drowning in everyday mediocrity. And then, I read this quote, quickly scratched in down, and realized that making the most out of your life doesn’t mean only taking trips around the world and checking countries and continents and activities off your Bucket List. Making the most of your life means that you spend every day of your life making the most of every moment in your one wild and precious life.
The book I am currently reading was the flame to the spark that Mary Oliver’s quote placed into my life. The book is called Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know By The Time She’s 30, and I highly recommend it to every woman out there, especially those in their 20’s. Among those on the list, including A Decent Piece of Furniture Not Previously Owned By Anyone Else In Your Family (Check! Go me!), is A Youth You Are Content To Move Beyond, and this chapter resonated in my heart, as this subject has been on my mind so often as of late. In the spirit of no regrets, I want to be content with the end of my twenties and also content with moving beyond them.
“Youth is not the blossom, but the bud, and though one cannot always be young and wild, if you are willing to learn, to grow, to outrun the mileposts of your own wildest dreams, you can always be winsome and lucky, lovely and free.”
And from me: while you are budding, and growing, and learning, and making the most out of your one wild and precious life, don’t forget the vague, blurry, and pretty daydreams that may not be reality right now, but that give you the chance to make big plans, dream big things, and look forward to the future with a sense of excitement and accomplishment, and the absence of regret.