I began No Years Lost in the summer of 2012, shortly after returning to my hometown of Toronto from several years spent working abroad. At the time, my younger brother was in law school. I finished the first iteration of the No Years Lost App in the late fall of 2014. Today I finished the dream funding platform. My brother got married last summer and has been a practicing lawyer for a year and a half. It is July and today is his 28th birthday. I do not know why I mention that. I suppose that kind of passage of time is just one of those unremarkable facts that strikes you down suddenly, with unexpected force, so that you have to go and sit down.
I have not really sat down for many years now and at the time of this writing I am six months into my thirties. I was in my early to mid-twenties when I set out on my first journey pursuant of my dreams. It was during that time of life when all of your friends are graduating and beginning the next steps in their own lives, careers and such. I was aware then that the traditional nine to five was not for me, and almost ironically, my chosen path has turned my days into more like, seven to eleven. I have loved every hour, minute and second of it though. It is hard to complain when you get to do what you love every single day of your life.
In those earliest years, my dream seemed simple enough. I wished to be a writer. How hard could that be, right? As it turns out, pretty f***ing hard. In my final semester before graduation at Trinity College in the University of Toronto, I packed up my life and left my hometown of Toronto for Los Angeles with nothing but a dream. While pursuing that dream, I was blessed in every way possible and was able to work for, with and solely, on a variety of creative endeavours, and with some incredibly talented people. Nevertheless, it took everything I could afford to give to it and then some, including my youth. And yet, accomplishing that dream was still the greatest thing I could have ever done for myself at that time in my life.
No Years Lost is very much a result of that journey, its struggles, and ultimately, its rewards. When I set out this time around, I was benefitted from my previous experiences. In fact, No Years Lost was practically built upon those experiences and I was very aware of what would need to be sacrificed. Once again, I would have to put everything on the line, family, friends, relationships, finances, time, so forth and so on, knowing that I might never get them back.
The irony of course was that No Years Lost was meant to soften, if not, alleviate all of those aforementioned sacrifices for others. I did not want to see any more youth spilled over dreams. I believed that this would be my last time chasing my dreams to such an extent, because my dream this time around, was to create a higher social network and crowd funding platform, one that would be exclusively for dreamers. When complete, it would give them the tools to create, connect, collaborate, inspire, share and even fund their dreams. In doing so, I hoped it might make their own journeys slightly less difficult than the ones I had personally faced and witnessed in others in the past.
I truly believed from the onset, and still do even to this day, that if we were able to dream together that we could do great things, if not even make the world a slightly better place. Oddly enough, many tech like companies spew that same sort of nonsense, “our (insert whatever) will make the world a better place.” We find it hard to understand how someone might think a proprietary data compression algorithm or the like will improve the world. We might be a tech company, in a way, but our product is you, the people. We believe that people, and only people, can make the world a better place. Accomplishing your dreams is about the most satisfying thing anyone could ever do and it is usually accompanied with great amounts of pure happiness, that is, if you can get through the difficult times. I created No Years Lost to get you through those difficult times.
Before beginning No Years Lost, I had never written, let alone looked at a line of code. Tens of thousands of lines of code later, we are here. I knew what I had to do to see my dream through to fruition, so I just went after it. There were of course days when I almost gave up, when I hurt, and I wish I had something positive to say about that, but I do not, aside from that I applied even those latest lessons along this journey into the final No Years Lost product. Finishing this dream, just the beginning of it, took its toll on me, unlike any before it, and it will be quite sometime I think until I regain many of the things lost for it, some will never be recovered. Was it worth it? Of course, I hope to have many more journeys like it before I expire. More so, I hope to bear witness to thousands upon thousands of others living their dreams and benefitting from this particular journey.
I do not really subscribe to the belief that certain people cannot do certain things, not in its truest sense at least. I am a realist of course, there will always be limitations as to how far certain people can go, but I do believe that people give up far too soon, that they can go much further than they ever believed if they just keep pushing through. Furthermore, I believe dreams have equal value, regardless of scope. One never knows how far the improvement of one life might travel to inspire or support the greatness in others.
It has been a long journey for me and it feels so good to be done. Partway through this, a close friend of mine asked if I actually believed in No Years Lost, and I told him the same thing I have told myself throughout my entire life whenever I crossed paths with a naysayer, “of course I believe.” Some months later, I found myself lamenting on his question and I thought, what is the point of doing anything if you do not believe in it? I would encourage all of you to find out what it is you believe in and go do that thing. That, and only that, is where real life exists. I want that for all of you.
Even though No Years Lost is now complete as a platform, the dream itself is incomplete however, without you: the dreamer. As such, I invite you to partake in this larger dream, by joining an exclusive community of young dreamers passionately pursuing their purpose, and by sharing your meaningful moments and lofty aspirations along your journey toward the fulfillment of your own dreams. Perhaps, you will even give No Years Lost the honour of helping you fund those dreams. I promise that I will reciprocate your support two fold by finding new ways everyday to improve the platform to bring you closer to your dreams.
It is an absolute privilege to be able to finally and humbly present to you, No Years Lost 1.1.1, my meagre first offering toward creating the first and only social network exclusively for the world’s dreamers, as well as, the No Years Lost crowd funding platform to help you fund your dreams. I have built a home for those who believe in the power of their dreams and for those who know, whether big or small, their dreams have the potential to change the world.
If you are a dreamer, welcome home to the only social network and crowd funding platform built exclusively for you, because we believe in the power of your dreams.
I believe in the power of dreams too. I believe in the power of you. Let no more youth be spilled in the name of dreams. We are too young to be defeated.
Creative Officer & Founder,
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