You Don't Need Permission / by Liz Brown

Des Moines Art Center

Des Moines Art Center

I made a new friend last week, but learned she's moving east this week to a bigger city, full of uncertainty and adventure. I asked her what she was going to do there. She didn't know yet. Then I asked what has become my favourite question: "What's your dream?"

Seriously. Ask someone that this week. Easily the fastest and most beautiful way to get to know someone's heart. Often, the answer will surprise you in the best way. At least that's what often happens to me.

For this question, she immediately had an answer: "To be a food critic"--for a major newspaper or magazine. Then why not do that? What if she started small, with a blog? She doesn't need anyone's permission to try food and write about it. Then maybe she could guest blog somewhere, perhaps get featured in a magazine, and, with some hustling, I bet she could get her column.

She hesitated, not totally sold. "Maybe I will! Or maybe I'll just get a normal job." If she does start that blog, I told her, let me know! I'll read it.

I was talking to another friend this weekend about that conversation and this is where he arrived: we're often waiting for permission to chase our dreams. And we don't need it.

Maybe we're waiting for the perfect job or writing on the wall, but maybe all we really need to do is begin. To say yes and hustle and work hard and drink too much coffee and we just might make it.

That thought is a kick in the pants for me, too. I've been rather hoping for an opportunity that pays me to photograph and write stories. But, heck, I have this blog and I have there words, and there are stories all around me! Why do I need an occasion or a theme or a specific purpose outside of that?

I guess what I'm saying is this:

Don't wait for permission to chase your dream.

You're alive. That's all the permission you need.