Feelings of fear and anxiety run deep within those who endure a quick, unconventional change in life.

We know so little about each others’ background and past. Yet, judgment runs deep and fast like the rivers. I try to base most every move I make in life on the happiness others. Who can I help? How can I help them?

To live selflessly has been a goal of mine for a while. The community and love here within the Sterling College community has influenced me to go so far beyond my imaginations capacity. I now see opportunity in little things I would have written off as a waste of time. Like rainbow hunting, and walking aimlessly in the rain. Not so much getting wet, but feeling each and every drop. Accepting it. Loving it.

There comes a time in every teenager’s life where confusion seems to cloud our minds. We are not yet sure who we want to be, or what we want to do. Shortly after I dropped out of high school my aspirations took a quick turn and I felt the need to work and learn all that I could. It took me less than twenty-four hours to pack up and hop on a greyhound bus headed towards Richmond, VA, where I began my first cooking adventure. I managed my brother’s restaurant and began to experiment with cooking professionally for the first time. Working 8am-3am sometimes, and then taking a day off for rest.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

In my mind, I began to grow aspirations of cooking holistic, nourishing, organic food. It took a while for me to realize that what I was cooking was not necessarily food for the soul but, rather, an affordable college option, with profit in mind. Skip forward a year, and I found myself on a journey to rural organic farmland in Amelia Courthouse, VA.

I posted on Craigslist for months seeking farm work on an organic, home-based operation. Finally, after many offers, I decided on one, and moved in. I ended up cooking for a family of six on a regular basis, managing crops, and much more. This sudden change in life made me nervous and uneasy. Somehow deep down inside, I trusted that what I was doing was for the betterment of humanity and myself. It was during this time I realized that the world needed more of this, more people taking chances, risking it all to improve the lives of others. I had no idea where I was, and had very little understanding of organic permaculture. I got my hands dirty, and listened to the old farmer who tried to teach me all that he could. It was the chance of a lifetime and I took it.

The amount I learned (and continue to learn) by taking the risks, and going out on my own has changed my life forever. Allowing myself space to be curious and try new things continues to influence me every day. With that, I say, don’t ever be afraid of yourself, your dreams, your aspirations. They are all worthy and beautiful. Chase them, and grab them.

Every opportunity in life is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

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