For the next two weeks, celebrities from all over the world will come together on the red carpet at the Cannes International Film Festival to debut the upcoming years’ top films and enjoy some of the wildest, most unimaginable experiences. There will be extravagant parties, bottles of champagne that stand taller than most adults, and yachts from all over Europe parked in a single port for a few days. If you’ve read any of my previous travel posts, you’d know that Cannes holds a special place in my heart, having spent two summer’s at the film festival in a previous job, and using that relocation as an opportunity to travel all over Europe. That larger-than-life experience has been and will likely continue to be the driving force of living room conversations or casual bar chatter with strangers and friends alike.
After those two exhilarating years on the road with Campus MovieFest, somebody kindly told me, “No matter where you go or what you do in life, chances are this opportunity is going to always be the one you talk about. It can’t be beat.” This weekend, I’ve been replaying that conversation in my head over and over. In a few moments, it spun me out completely. The idea that it can’t get any better is pretty discouraging to think about. I think back to the character of Uncle Rico in Napoleon Dynamite, as he shares his missed opportunity to go to the state championship back in high school because coach didn’t put him in. If the best has passed, then why would I wake up early tomorrow? Why would I work as hard as I have, or even harder, to get to where I want to be? If all I’ve got it a few stories from an experience but no hope for the future, what am I doing here?
While it’s really hard to think about a more unique life opportunity than attending a film festival like Cannes, I’ve been reflecting on some of the adventures, milestones, and occurrences of the last year that I would proudly place as just as fantastic, just without a red carpet rolled out.
- I’ve nearly finished paying off all of my college debt that has been looming over my head for many years.
- I hiked the entire Grand Canyon in under 10 hours.
- I started a new job involving social media management for a Top 50 company within the Fortune 500.
- I bought a house.
These milestones and privileges have been dynamic parts of my own story. No one would ever compare paying a mortgage to meeting Emma Watson. And I’m not sure who sits around the living room bragging about their decreasing loan payment. But these are new, exciting opportunities that I get to embrace and I’d be missing out on all sorts of celebrations if I were too busy just recalling what once was. On a spiritual level, I sway to the “seasons of life” mentality, in which we come to believe that our lives are made up of many seasons that change and look extremely different. For me, this current season is one that focuses on consistency, relationship, and the challenges of finding contentment while still pursuing greatness. On a physical level, I think working 16 hours straight, and then proceeding to stay up and party with new international friends until the sun comes up would not likely fit into my 27-year old routine. Yeah, I just called myself old, I know.
So in this moment, I proclaim my highly-evident jealousy to all of the filmmakers and former colleagues of mine that are sitting on the beach drinking 3 euro bottles of wine and trying their hardest to get into the biggest parties that everyone is talking about. (Advice: Learn some French. Be bold. Never look back). For now, I own my has-been status, but challenge myself to be fully present IN the present. I am thankful for what I have in this moment, and proclaim it as good. Today is what we have, and that’s a gift. It’s ultimately up to us to decide what happens next. Choose your next adventure.