It was getting dark. As the remaining minutes of the last fragments of day unknowingly slipped past, the house slowly began its process of being swallowed up by night. Soon, the place was consumed entirely by blackness. Somewhere in the midst of it was me, barely illuminated by the bright, flashing colors of the television screen. No part of me was willing to get off the couch and turn on the lights. Something much too captivating, much too fascinating, much too revolutionary of an event was taking place inside the complicated universe of Voltron: Legendary Defender for an action so insignificant to disrupt any of it.
So imagine a fictional world in which you attend a school meant to train people who desire reaching worlds beyond Earth, to explore areas in space where nobody has ever gone before.
Sounds fun, but the way everything is governed shockingly possesses qualities very much like the intimidating army: instructors demanding undivided attention and obedience, genuine respect,
and absolutely no room for error.
Always remaining strong and untouched by enemies, this school can transform the most inexperienced cadet into a well-trained soldier.
One evening, however, this strict, military-like education system decides to initiate a lockdown for certain untold reasons. Suspicious, right?
Maybe it’s because of aliens, you’re probably wondering.
No? Well, press deep into your mind and wrench open the cabinets of your stored away imagination. Now try to comprehend this: aliens actually do exist. In this fictional situation, at least. And you encounter them. Face-to-face. Indirectly.
Say you’re hanging out with your two closest friends on the roof of the school when the voice of your commander can be heard on the loudspeaker.
“Attention, students: this is not a drill. We are on lockdown. All students are to remain in barracks until further notice.”
But you aren’t in your barrack; instead, you’re happening to witness a mysterious ship plummet from the sky and crash a few miles away from the school.
Alarms are ringing, your curiosity is spilling over the edge and can hardly be contained, but something deep inside is telling you to take cover. To listen to the instructor. To revert back to the normal, exhausting, difficult life of a space-intellectual-in-progress. Once you think about it, you eventually come to the realization that you’d rather be elsewhere. Not trapped in some repetitive “military” schedule.
Now, let’s fast forward to several hours later and attempt to visualize something that’s way beyond the concept of unrealistic: suddenly you’re confronted by a menacing wormhole.
Oh, did I mention that you’re in the middle of space, far, far away from the warmth of Earth? The reasons behind that don’t exactly matter. What’s truly important here is that you have quite a big decision to make. Either you try to find your way back to your home planet, back to your school, back to your ordinary life, or you enter that wormhole and put your entire existence on the line. Enter that wormhole and you’ll travel through time itself, probably ending up somewhere thousands of gigaparsecs away.
But you’re not really afraid of what could happen to you; for some odd reason, you have the feeling that something good might result from such a daring choice. And something good sure does happen when you finally make up your mind.
“Alright, I guess I’m ditching class tomorrow,” you say to yourself.
A few heartbeats and anticipated breaths later, you advance towards that portal. And BAM. Your entire life changes is a matter of seconds. Instantly you become one of only five defenders of the universe and are forced to endure the massive pressure of watching over every living being’s safety.
Despite the amount of stress that this job has, satisfying things actually do emerge from it. You create lifelong friendships with your new partners,
face new and challenging obstacles every day,
and in the end, never have to worry about being depressed or bored out of your mind ever again.
You finally start to feel good about yourself. Like you are an important contribution to the team. Like your conclusion to go through that wormhole was the best decision you ever made.
Obviously, there is a reason why I went into such detail with these scenarios. There’s a specific theme that’s hidden within them. And now it’s time to introduce a third event that brings out my intended message even more.
I did gymnastics for eight years. During that whole time, I never felt like I belonged there, but also was struggling to find another sport that I possibly could be a little more talented in. I tried track and field in middle school but always lost on the day of the big competition. When high school came around, I officially decided to abandon the emotionally-draining sport of gymnastics and try out for the track team, which is pretty weird because of how bad I was at running.
Let’s now skip over to the present, over to my junior year. I went to CIF prelims in tenth grade, am now a two-year varsity letterman, and am the second fastest on the entire team, a great offering to the abundance of sprinters, hurdlers, and jumpers. Not only that, but I have established friendships with many people more than ever before. And I would never give up such an amazing award.
Notice a pattern? It’s about taking risks. Even if you’re uncertain. If you’re not feeling completely satisfied with your current situation, it’s perfectly okay to see if you are meant for something else. It’s exactly what I did. But who knows how it will turn out for you? Surely it will be all worth it in the end.
Hey, you might even become a defender of the universe.