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Confessions From the Past

The Chapter About Doubt

J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 7

It was a perfect day. The sun was shinning and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The weather was just starting to cool down from it’s blistering summer heat and you were at the park with your best friend, both of you seventeen, almost eighteen, discussing the idea of college.

“I just don’t know what to do. There are too many options and I feel like I’m not good enough at anything,” she’d said playing with the grass around her on the hill we were sitting on.

I remember shrugging as if this were no big thing.

“You’ll figure it out.”

She rolled her eyes.

“That’s easy for you to say, you HAVE something you’re good at.”

And she was right. I’d just started getting into music and really devoting all my time to it. In fact, at that point in time, I had just made the decision to go college to study it. Remember? I didn’t necessarily have a plan, but I was sure the journey would lead me to where I was supposed to end up.

“I guess I just have faith that everything will work out the way it’s supposed to. You just have to find a thing. That one thing that you really love that you’re willing to do anything for. Music is that for me now. And I know I’m going to work harder at it than I’ve ever worked at anything in my whole life. I know that there are people out there that want it more than me, but I’ll never give up. Ever. I think if you have that mentality you can do anything.”

She sighed.

“I just don’t think that’s true,” she pried. “Just because you want something really badly doesn’t mean you’re going to get it. I don’t want to rain on your parade or anything. I think you’ll do really well, don’t get me wrong. I’m just saying. I just don’t think everyone becomes what they want to be after college.”

I thought on this for a while. I remember there being too many thoughts in my head to process them in such a short amount of time. What did she know?!

“I think that’s the problem with people today,” I started. “There’s too much doubt. There are too many people out there thinking ‘I’m going to try, but odds are, I’ll probably have to settle for something I’m not completely in love with.’ It’s bullshit.”


“All I’m saying is, if you want to be a damn astronaut, you can be a damn astronaut. Sure, it won’t be easy and I’m sure there’s a lot of shit that goes in to being an astronaut. I mean, THEY GO TO OUTER SPACE.” (Let’s get back on topic here, babe.) “But if you really want it, I mean REALLY want it, why should anything stop you? The only thing that holds people back and messes them up is doubt. And I don’t want any of that. So, stop thinking you can’t be whatever you want to be and that I can’t either. Because we can. And I don’t know about you, but I’m going to.”

With that, she smiled a tiny smile, got up, brushed the dirt off of her, and asked if I wanted to go get a coffee.

It is possibly the only argument to date that I have ever won.

I wanted to remind you of this day, this conversation specifically, because lately things have been a little foggy. You are not seventeen anymore and, though you still hold onto the same determination and mentality you had in this conversation oh so many years ago, it does waiver from time to time. You graduated college a couple months ago and finding a full time, well paying job has proven pretty trying thus far. As I’m sure you remember, you’re very confused on what to do, where to live, and how this will affect all other aspects of your life. But you’re getting by and trying to enjoy where you’re at right now; this confusing almost-twenty-three-what-am-I-gonna-do-with-my-life phase.

You’re still doing music, of course, to some extent. Playing in the church band and giving lessons. And it was just the other day something picked you up and set you back on your feet after months of the doubt you swore you’d never have. (Funny how that sneaks in there the older we get.) It was your first day giving ukulele lessons to spunky nine-year-old girl. The smile on her face and the excitement in her voice made your heart swell instantly, I’m sure you remember the feeling. She introduced herself, extending out a hand to shake. And then she said:

“I listen to your music all the time in the car. My mom says you’re going to be famous someday. I can’t believe you get to teach me how to be like you!”

It was only then I remembered that sometimes the biggest inspiration can come from the smallest things.

So, I just wanted to let you know that I’m not sure where you’re at out there in the future with all of this, but I’m not going to give up.

I’m going to be a damn astronaut. (Well, you know what I mean.)