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    Hi Kelsi,

    Last August, I saw this post. I saved the link in my inbox to share a reply and thought it was about time I did that.

    First off, it’s been a few months since you posted, so I was wondering how you have been doing? How is the anxiety? Has the path become a bit more clear now? I’d love to hear how things are going.

    Secondly, I thought I would share a little of my own story as you said you were looking for people with similar experiences of looking for direction. Definitely been there. In some ways, I think we are all always there. I graduated from my undergrad in International Development in 2008. It took me a long while to get through the program. I was interested in my degree, but I lacked a passion for it. Once I graduated, I wasn’t sure what I was “supposed” to be doing with it. I figured that since I had been studying about the ills of the world, I should keep working in the non-profit and charity sector so I worked a few jobs with non-profits but felt unsatisfied with the work. I enjoyed what I was doing but something was missing.

    In March of 2011 I had an epiphany of sorts. I was visiting a friend and flipping through channels on TV until I passed Discovery Channel. They were talking about how the Space Shuttle program was coming to an end. This stirred some really strong emotions in me. In my life outside of my degree, I was a huge space/sci-fi geek. When I was a kid, I had always wanted to be an astronaut. But, like many others, that didn’t work out. My eyesight wasn’t super great and my math grades weren’t amazing. However, I had always had a passion for space that had become buried over time. I had come to see these interests as childish guilty pleasures. I mean there were people in the world in trouble and I needed to help them. Who had time for my head to be in the stars?

    But as the weeks passed, I couldn’t help but think about this end of an era with the shuttle program and the longings of the childhood dream. So I decided that I should do something about it. The final launch of the space shuttle, a shuttle called Atlantis, was due to occur on July 8th of 2011. I needed to be there. I had never seen a launch in person. I also decided that I wanted to share that moment with as many people as possible. At first I thought that meant bringing more cars and inviting more people. But then I realized that meant bringing a camera. Before I knew it, I was working on a documentary film. I NEVER had plans to be a filmmaker in my life. It just happened this way. And the film grew and grew. What began as a simple road-trip movie got some attention and before we knew it, we scored some amazing interviews, got to see the Shuttle up close and “Chasing Atlantis” became a thing.

    The most amazing part of the film wasn’t that we got to see a shuttle launch. It was how much I learned about myself along the way…the WHY of going down to see the shuttle. So while we set out to do a film about space…it kinda became a film about chasing our dreams and determining what’s important to us. It’s also about how the journey is more important than the destination as you really don’t know where life is going to take you.

    But what about my degree and helping the world? Well…the film isn’t the end of the story. You see, what I realized was that yes, that was important to me as well, but it was just missing something. The exciting thing in life for me now is combining the two together. What I realized was that my love of exploration and desire to do good in the world was actually inspired by my love of space to begin with. As an astronaut you wanted to explore. And in all the sci-fi I loved, explorers did good throughout the universe. Now we are starting to see a growing intersection between astronauts and a global worldview from films like “Planetary.” Astronauts have talked about how hard it is to see themselves just as “Americans” or “Canadians” after going to space when you’re orbiting the earth once every 90 minutes. From up there, borderlines don’t really matter any more.

    So I decided to put together a talk on the idea and was asked to give a TEDx presentation at the institution where I graduated with my degree…U of T.

    Kelsi, all of this happened to me after I turned 30. You’re 21. And, at the risk of sounding like something an “old” person says, you have lots of time to determine your path. That doesn’t mean don’t ask the hard questions now…because the earlier the better…but be open to all kinds of possibilities. Be open to new paths, to taking new directions, to listening to what your soul is telling you to follow, to saying no to some options that don’t work, and – what I think is the best part – combining areas of interest together in ways that nobody else but you with your unique experiences would’ve considered before. Find that thing that when you do it becomes an expression of your innermost being. If that is being an RN great. If that means becoming a Vet. Great. If that means being both somehow…do that. And when the anxiety comes…that is sometimes a great sign…embrace it. That fear sometimes means you’re on the right path. And if not. You’ll figure that out too.

    Hope this helps, Kelsi! If you’re interested, you can check out my TEDx talk here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chDDXMbPiK0

    All the best! And remember, as cliché as it sounds, life is really more about the journey than the destination. Keep chasing your own Atlantis. You’ll get to where you need to.

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