It’s tough to tell people that you’ve done everything you wanted to do in life at age 23. Through a combination of luck, timing and resources, I’ve managed to accomplish everything I wanted to do.
One of those dreams was to take part in Fiesta – the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta – where close to 600 balloons come together every fall to fly over the New Mexican dawn. I had dreamed about it since childhood when I would wait up all night to see my mom get home with pictures from a colleague who had been or when the first images I ever saw on the Internet were the listing of shapes to attend that year’s event.
As the calendar turned to 2011, I realized that I was running out of chances to see the event in its full glory. With ballooning slowly on the decline and potentially having a full-time job and obligations to care about in future years, I understood that 2011 might be my best chance to go. After spending the summer at a variety of different ballooning events, the momentum pushed me to buy a ticket to ABQ as soon as I could clear my schedule.
With days to go, I got worried about what type of experience might be in store and what would come of me afterwards. After all, it was some faraway dream when I thought about it before and it would soon become reality. As my feet hit the ground, my worries disappeared as friends took me in and treated me like their honoured guest.
On the first Saturday of the event, I got into Hal Cooper’s Uptuit basket and launched into a sky of balloons over the Rio Grande. It was indeed everything I had dreamed about for so long. I was elated as we flew, landed, launched again before coming to a rest in a community where we were well received by excited children and their just-as-joyful parents.
For the next 8 days, I got caught up in the magic of Fiesta with the flying, food and fireworks that went with it. Hours before the last flight, I drove new friends to the airport as they took the long journey home and I panicked, if only for a bit. It was almost over and then I would return to my more-permanent reality track including school, years of work then eventually retirement.
It was later that night, while chatting with other new friends, that an advertisement for a financial institution popped up on the television, explaining that it was time to dream again. Dream again.
Two of my great-grandparents lived to four times my current age. There is time to dream again, to establish goals, to celebrate possibilities and create fascinating realities. Now is the time to rebuild ideas of far-off places and opportunities to use my creativity in limitless ways.
When I was seven years old, I knew I would make it to be part of Fiesta. But I didn’t know when it would be and how I would fit into it. Now I can dream of my next Fiesta: a long-term goal which will push the limits of my possible to achieve and will be filled with colourful and uplifting sights once there and along the way.