Some people put careers down to chance. It’s just what they happened to be good at, or what happened to be available when they were looking. I disagree. A career is more than a line on a “Facts About Me” sheet, a piece of a resume, or a statement in an obituary. It’s a part of life.
To continue with that idea a little further, what exactly is this nebulous idea of life? One thing readers may have picked up on in Nightfall was the attitude most of the characters had toward their own “end of days.” While they’re not connected to their bodies anymore, they don’t require air, food, or heartbeats, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not living.
Yes, you read that right. They are dead. But they are living.
Zoey, Gwynn, Sam, Jay, Anna, Oliver, and maybe even Zane and Isaac (spoilers?! I’ll never tell!) are deceased, but they continue to have experiences. For instance, no one who saw the broken, emotionally-closed Samuel Winters evolve into the man he was in the final chapters could say his experiences had ceased shaping him. In that way, at least to me, he is still living.
That’s what life is truly about. We could all be reaching for the next goal, the next achievement, but then what are we doing? All of these little “checkpoints” are small blips on the radar while our timeline creeps forward toward the moment our strings are snipped. Charging toward that moment will leave behind nothing but the bitter taste of regret, but savoring every moment, experience, and memory is what builds every person’s life. Those seemingly unconnected events that slowly build into a cascade of cause and effect are what lead to those key facts so many people rely upon to build a flimsy, two dimensional image of who we are.
I am 20 years old and currently facing a crossroads. I’ll be honest, it terrifies me. As a millennial, I am feeling the same pressures as most of my generation. The price tag attached to a piece of paper certifying I’ve spent enough hours studying has gone through the roof faster than any other expense in modern America. Most of the older generations want to see college students as lazy kids with no drive, but that’s just not true. We have to be excellent with almost no wiggle room for errors.
That’s my crossroads. Wiggle room is difficult to come by, but I know what it is that I want. I know what my definition of excellence is, and I know that it isn’t even remotely close to how some people would define it. That’s the thing about we the artists, the rebels, the free thinkers. We’re forced to be something else, something truly terrifying-life’s gamblers.
Over the next week or so I will share a series of moments, snapshots that make up my experience. These are events that led to me making what’s likely the biggest gamble of my life-devoting myself to writing.
I hope you enjoy the ride.