A young friend of ours in his 20s was accepted into law school today. I was just overjoyed at this news. He worked hard studying for his LSATs and wrote heartfelt essays for his application. It reminded me of the day I got my grad school acceptance letters. I remember thinking, “Life just changed for me. Five minutes ago my future was different. I’m on a new path.” It was among the most exciting days of my life.
One of the joys of being middle-aged is the ability to cheer on young people who are unsure of themselves or their talents. Having spent a lot of my youth being underestimated by many, I’ve decided that I’m going to make a big fuss over anyone and everyone who is working toward a dream. Assuming that the dream is not to rob a bank or become a drug kingpin, I can look back and remember the people who cheered me on and the ones who questioned the wisdom of changing careers, putting my career on hold to care for a sick family member, starting a new hobby or renovating an old house. Because here’s the deal: if you fail at something, you learn something and that’s a positive. The worst thing in life is not failure. It’s being too afraid to dive in.