“There are no safe paths in this part of the world. Remember you are over the Edge of the Wild now, and in for all sorts of fun wherever you go.” -Gandalf the Grey
Fairy tales are not so far from truth.
We think that these stories of far-off lands and impossible creatures are so far removed from our lives that they mean nothing to us, but fairy tales are the result of a mind that has an endless desire for love, justice, and heroes, and seeks out these stories in the world to appease this insatiable appetite.
Enemies become dragons, mentors transform into sages. What we are struggling for becomes a kingdom and suddenly we have been transfigured from pauper to prince.
These stories are dismissed as childish because they are fantastical in nature. We simply say that we have grown out of them, but have we really?
We may not have rampaging dragons and curse-wielding sorcerers, but we do have enemies and struggles. The essence of the world in which we live has been captured in stories, just in a different way than you might expect.
Our adventures do not involve defeating dark wizards or ending an eternal winter. It is important to remember that adventure is not created by magic. Adventure is the choice of a yearning heart.
“An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.” -G.K. Chesterton
We often decide to remain on the same page, in the same chapter, and never finish the book because we are afraid of our dreams.
We second guess ourselves, taking the safe path rather than the risky. It’s like we lack the guts to follow our dreams and live doing what we love. Our passions are sacrificed in order to feel secure.
As we continue on in monotony, feeling safe deep within our comfort zone, we have forgotten what it even feels like to follow our dreams. Nestled beneath the covers of our contentment, we let that which makes our heart beat in excitement scamper away. Our sense of adventure has been lost and replaced with the mundane lethargy of habit.
But what would happen if you followed your dreams? Where would you be? What would you learn? What kind of person would you become?
“Make your choice, adventurous Stranger,
Strike the bell and bide the danger,
Or wonder, till it drives you mad,
What would have followed if you had.” -C.S. Lewis
These are the questions that ought to drive us to follow those far-fetched dreams of our childhood. It is easy to see what you will become when you sit at a desk day after day, dreaming of coffee breaks and bonus checks, but it is near impossible to envision the kind of person you will turn into when you spend every waking minute immersed in what you love.
For me, it is time to make that choice. I see the end of high school like ending the first book of a series, bittersweet. It was a thrill to go through, but the sadness of the ending is overwhelmed by the excitement about what is to come.
I chose to turn the pages and found that my story leads down a thrilling road of uncertainty that I never anticipated. The end of every chapter was exciting, but nothing prepared me for the cliffhanger I have found myself falling from. I know now that the true adventure has begun and the risks have only just started.
The Edge of the Wild is far behind me now and I can no longer follow the safe paths. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Book One: High School