The Trains I Missed
At the previous company I worked for, we shared our office with another company. This other company had a film project they were working on, and one day I saw their sponsorship proposal lying around. I read it and noticed one of the producers of the film, a woman, actually had worked in one of the coolest films of all time, which also happens to be one of my favorites: The Fall. Tarsem Singh's The Fall.
What her position in the film was, I don't know. And that's what I wanted to know, and that's what I would've asked her if only I had the courage to talk to her. I thought, "Yeah, I'll ask her about it someday. She often comes to the office right?" One day, though, a perfect opportunity presented itself. She was sitting alone at the table, didn't look busy, looked approachable, and holy shit if I had just the courage to approach her I could've asked her about her experience in The Fall. What it was like working with Tarsem, or if she was on the set at all, and so on.
But no... I let it pass. I walked away. I thought, "Well... Maybe someday." Pretty soon the project moved on to the next stage and the film crew were no longer working in our office. And more importantly, I no longer work in that office.
Dressed for Success
A few years ago, Roxette was going to play in my city. I really wanted to see it. And I knew Roxette was my dad's favorite band, or at least that he liked it. At this point in time, I had graduated from college but still had no job, so I had no money. Then I considered, "Should I ask my dad to take me to the concert...? Nah... Best that I don't even try."
I was so afraid of the outcome if I ever tried to make the request. I had imagined this would be his response: "Having fun is all you think about. How about you think about your future? (Another long speech ensues...)"
But guess what, a few days after the concert, I mentioned about Roxette playing in the city, and my dad said, "I know. If you had asked me, I would have taken you there." Facepalming profoundly now.
The Trains I Boarded Anyway
One day, I read this interesting article by a British environmentalist-slash-writer. He's quite popular for a journalist, I think. For the sake of my comfort, let's not mention his name and call him GM instead. GM wrote about how corporations had ruined young people by luring them, recruiting them and eventually sucking the soul out of them. So GM here encouraged us young ones to keep believing in our dreams no matter how difficult, and never let go. Never trade it for soul-sucking corporate jobs.
Because the piece was so interesting, I sent and email to GM, asking if I should pursue my dream despite the overwhelming odds against me, or if I should stick to a safe job I was holding. The way I worded it, basically I was challenging him and testing him about his view on the matter.
"But I got a question for you. I wanna see if you really believe in what you said in the article, that we--students, graduates, society--should rebel against those so-called soul-suckers and follow our dreams however hard it might seem."
Then I ended the email with....
"...I sincerely hope you respond to my question. Otherwise, I would be very disappointed because you sound so promising with your campaign in the article."
GM never replied my email. Who knows if he even read it.
One of the very first things I did after graduating from college, in terms of making an attempt at being employed, was to email this skydiving operator in Thailand and asked them for a job.
I had no experience of doing any kind of air sports and I could not speak Thai. All I had was the nerve to offer myself to them using my freshly stamped diploma and passion for the sport--which I must repeat I have never done.
Looking back I think that was pretty nuts. I didn't know what I was doing. It's one of those spontaneous shits you did without overthinking, or in this case, without thinking. The people at the establishment were kind enough to respond to my email though. Even though they did not hire me to work in Thailand, they offered me a gig as one of their agents. I would get 10% fee for any sales I make.
So there I was, their only representative agent in Indonesia. I promoted their service in the largest Indonesian forum. Never had one customer. I stopped doing it when I finally realized I had no idea about the sport nor the travel industry.
The Trains Waiting for Me
I got a lot of this kind of story. The stuffs I did do. The stuffs I was too chicken to do. And most importantly, the stuffs in the backlog, waiting to turn into yet another missed opportunity or an open road that might be life-changing. Most of the time, I just need some time to muster up the courage. And also, the right setting.
But I understand sometimes life does not wait.