My dream chasing friend

My friend Patrick and I formed our friendship over big dreams. We rarely talk about relationships, work or mutual friends, rather our conversations often immediately launch into lust of adventures and travels. We dive deep into the things we believe can make us happy and the hurdles we face and create. Hours pass as we sit at a Taco Johns or coffee shop, hashing our five- or 10-year plans. I’ve admitted passions to him that I can’t admit to others and I can’t explain why.

During one particular life chat, Patrick and I developed a game. We each had a piece of paper and pen and we gave ourselves 10 minutes to write down our bucket list. We then shared them with each other, giving an explanation for each item.

From both of our lists, I only remember one thing. His was to study abroad, preferably in a German-speaking country. He wanted to travel, a thirst he developed after a trip to Europe. He wanted to be thrown from his comfort zone, knowing he needed that test to define himself as a person.

On my list, of course, was serving in the Peace Corps. It wasn’t the first time Patrick and I discussed this idea so I felt comfortable sharing it with him because it needed no explanation. Anytime I brought the PC up, he always reassured me with a “that would be so incredible.”

A few months later, Patrick informed me would indeed be studying abroad – a year in Austria. He left and we kept in touch through a few phone calls and Facebook messages. When he returned, we went back to being friends who talked big dreams.

And, as the story goes, I am almost a month away from reporting to my Peace Corps staging.

Now, I sit in the same coffee shop where the bucket list swap took place and 45 minutes away from seeing Patrick one last time before I leave. I look at the table we sat that day, I know which one it is, and smile. If the Patrick and Heather from two years ago could see us today, they’d be more than proud. We made goals and followed through. We made promises to ourselves and kept them. And we are living like we always wanted to – following dreams.

Later, when I mentioned this fact to Patrick after dinner at the local Mexican restaurant, he gave each other high-fives. It’s what dream accomplishers do, I guess.

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