Sometimes, taking a step back is the best recourse left to find clarity. For me, taking a step back included figuring out what needed to stay and what needed to go, as well as what needed to come to the surface. It also meant being comfortable not knowing, while also being uncomfortable in a holding pattern.
Anything that needs to be done needs to be done full-speed ahead. Fortunately, there are enough people in my life who I can look at as examples of doing what they love to do and doing it with who they want to do it with. It doesn't take having to look at examples who are too far away and are unrealistic; the people in my life are doing enough to fuel me to be great.
No matter how much time I have left on this earth, the goal now, a goal clearer than ever, is to be the best at anything I'm doing. If it's being an advocate for academics, it won't be enough to be good at it: it'll only enough to be the best at it. It also means becoming great at things that were, and are, still considered hobbies despite being somewhat decent at them. Sometimes, people consider an activity a hobby because there's a strange sense of justification that comes with classifying it as a hobby to keep from going full-speed at it. That's certainly been the case in my life. Well, not anymore.
Being a student of the game is something that's always been a joy, and learning outside of the classroom has long been my preferred method, despite having a passion for formal education and sharing that passion with students. Learning and applying lessons to my passions is something that now takes precedence over everything, even if it means being done in isolation or seclusion. Besides, how isolated and secluded can a person really be on the internet?
It's like learning how to walk: the sheer excitement of taking a step is way more important than worrying about falling down and getting hurt. And even when you fall, you get right back and keep walking. It's wild that after all this time, after 34 years on earth, I'm finally learning how to walk...and there's nothing that will keep me from continuing to do so.