dreams can be mutually exclusive

This is a really tough truth that I wish I was taught from an early age. You can have two or more dreams for your life that, if you really planned them out in detail, would be mutually exclusive. This might be obvious in the abstract, but what I want to stress upon you is that it is very easy to carry mutually exclusive dreams with you well into adulthood.

When I was a kid, I always wanted to be a dirtbag. It was like a monk to my friend group; the holiest calling was to live on the road reading and hiking and meeting whoever you met wherever you wandered. Chris McCandless was our martyred saint, Dick Proenneke was our god.

But the city always called me. I fell in love with everything dense and human about cities, first stumbling upon the hidden subterranean city in Chicago with Andy, then riding the 6 train with my sister Dani, Agustin, and a 1-year-old Gabi. And the Park! The Park! Wrap a wilderness in 200,000 humans and their homes and you've made heaven.

You see where this is going, don't you? Don't so many of us Americans, especially from the middle of the country, feel this pull between going off and going in? These dreams are incompatible. Truly, completely opposed. And I went nearly thirty years acting carrying them both as my vision of the future.

I picked the city. I'll get out into it when I can to breathe the sky and taste pine smoke, and I never intend on forgetting how to hang a hammock or snap branches between trees for firewood without an axe, but it isn't my real dream. And letting that go hurt quite a lot, as silly as it may sound, but it eased something in me. So I want you to be ready for that day if it comes for you. Be ready to drop a dream.