“Decide in your heart of hearts what really excites and challenges you, and start moving your life in that direction.

Every decision you make, from what you eat to what you do with your time tonight, turns you into who you are tomorrow, and the day after that.

Look at who you want to be, and start sculpting yourself into that person. You may not get exactly where you thought you’d be, but you will be doing things that suit you in a profession you believe in.

Don’t let life randomly kick you into the adult you don’t want to become.”
Chris Hadfield

Chris_HadfieldHadfield is a retired Canadian Astronaut, and the first Canadian to walk into space. He is not only known for his space-walks, but also for his impressive music videos in which he sings oldies like David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” — from space. Classic.

In a few months I’ll be 25. Now I know some of you are rolling your eyes at that number, and others are hyperventilating at the thought of one day becoming that age. Earlier this year I was that person hyperventilating at my computer. The panic attack came a few days after I finished graduate school, and had to make the decision between spending all of my money to go to a conference in Cambridge for the summer, or ration it to pay off my loans (and eat) over the next few months while I looked for a job.

For someone who has an unnerving need to travel – this was a sickening decision. But, I didn’t want to be that person. You know. The one that turns away from their responsibilities to ‘live in the moment.’ To some extent, I appreciate those people, but I also resent them. I chose to further my education, to move to Canada, and live on my own. I chose to take out loans to finance those decisions, therefore I need to be responsible and return on that investment.

This doesn’t mean I won’t go to Cambridge for the conference next year. In fact, I’m working everyday in order to be able to triumphantly walk into the majestic halls of that historic university, and wear my laminated name-tag proudly. Without putting myself in a risky financial position doing it.

I’m taking Hadfield’s advice.

I’m moving my life in the direction I want to go, by working to be financially independent. By spending my extra time developing this blog, learning Arabic, and matching my goals with opportunities. What excites me and challenges me, has everything to do with writing, traveling, and global affairs. Unfortunately, to reach a life where I can devote myself fully to those things, I have to first push them a few years forward, and break down the barriers blocking them now. Which for me, includes every American student’s worst nightmare – Sallie Mae.

This is just reality. We don’t become the person we want to be overnight, and without struggle. It takes perseverance, and imagination. Hadfield didn’t become an astronaut in a year, two years, or even five years. It took him half a lifetime, and that’s just fine. 25 is pretty young.

So, who do you want to be?