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I have spent the majority of my life in a place of limbo. A free fall to nothingness. I have chased dreams yet abandoned them for fear of time. So much emphasis has been placed on timing—it’s perfectionism at its finest. There is so much I have wanted out of life and yet not gone after because it didn’t fit into a current narrative. 

In a large part, we live according to regret. In anticipation of and in reaction to it, regret is the foundation on which we rely on. Almost as if the shared notion of regret provides us comfort in knowing that we are not the only ones to have experiences not lived and words unsaid. The only one constant in a world shifting faster than the speed of light. I too have fallen victim to regret. Holding onto the what-ifs and if onlys as if they were enough to ground me in reality. All it has done is held me back from truly living. The past is simply an intangible piece of memory. There is no returning to it, yet I hold on as if there is something to be gained in my loyalty to history. 

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For too long I have held onto this notion that the past can come back if I pour my wishes into it. This isn’t reality. I can’t go back to high school lunches with my friends or late nights in the dance studio. I can’t reverse time and change what I did or said in a certain situation. I want so much more than to be contained in these false conceptions of what my life is now.

I have come to realize that my waiting is grounded in the privileged assumption that there is more time. The reality is that nothing is guaranteed, not even time. 2020 taught me an extensive amount of lessons, and one of the greatest is that nothing can be taken for granted. I am tired of spending days dreaming for it to only lead to that; a dream. Some far off conception of life never daring to pass from my mind to reality. I think back to all the lists curated with my friends of things we wanted to experience together. All the memories in the making that ceased in the face of time. I am no longer willing to lose those moments to anything, not even time. 

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My goal is to at last embrace those what-ifs and if onlys in the moment. All the little things that I’ve always wanted to do, even if it means adaptations to make them covid-safe. Dreams are not always expansive notions of living, some are as simple as going to a drive-in movie theatre. I want to be spontaneous, as it’s in the small moments in which control is abandoned that I feel most alive.

Perhaps you could say my New Year’s resolution is to actually live (although I am not one to really believe in the power of New Year's goals as what’s the difference between starting January 1st or say July 15th?). Whatever it is, I am ready to at last let go of the regrets that have held me back. I used to look at life as some unsolved mystery in need of answers, but I finally see the truth. Life isn’t that simple. Change and adaptivity are some of the greatest qualities to experience all that life has to offer. The world is wide open, and I’m ready to embrace it. 

 In the end, what is the purpose of a dream if not fuelled by some tangible action?

Joanna is a second year student at Queen's University pursuing an honours degree in Psychology along with a minor in Political Studies.
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