Hi, my name is Gaetano, and I’m the creator of OPR.
This week we’re celebrating the 8th anniversary of OPR, and every year I like to take a moment to talk about some behind the scenes stuff that is relevant to the history of this project.
Over the last year, the popularity of OPR has exploded like never before, with our audience growing to almost 5 times the size of last year (going from 1500 supporters to 7500 supporters on Patreon), which is absolutely incredible, and I am infinitely thankful for.
But this is not a story of success.
As the project grows, I have heard more and more people say how they wish they could do what we do, how they wish they could follow their passions, how one day they are going to pursue the same goals. I have heard many people talking about how they are postponing their dreams for tomorrow.
This story is for them, although I don’t know that any story I have to tell can truly help anyone. Maybe this story truly is for me, or at least a previous version of me that could have never imagined to be here today.
When I was 23 years old, I almost died for the first time.
One day I woke up in a pool of blood, with a deadly fever, and throwing up without end. It was the middle of winter, and I was rushed to the hospital in the snowy night. When I arrived to the hospital, I was quarantined, and doctors in hazard suits inspected me whilst whispering with worried faces.
I spent the next three weeks in the hospital in excruciating pain, without any sleep, going from surgery to surgery, and the doctors didn’t know if I was going to make it. I didn’t know if I was going to make it.
Those weeks were some of the hardest of my life. I had to look my family in the eye and say goodbye to them, truly knowing that each time could be the last, and I had to come to terms with the fact that this was it, this was the end of the road for me.
On my death bed, there were many things that I reflected upon, and there were many things that I came to realize, in ways that I could never have before. One of those was that I had spent my life postponing my dreams for tomorrow, and now it had become very clear that tomorrow was not going to come.
You really only live once.
Being awake for 24hrs a day, I spent my time suffering physically and mentally, agonizing over my life and my death, as I rolled around in a wheelchair across those cold empty halls. I looked at that corpse in the mirror, at what little remained of me, and I knew that if I survived, nothing was ever going to be the same again.
At the end of those three weeks, I was diagnosed with a chronic illness, and put on medication that I still take every day in order to stay alive. With time my health stabilized, and in some ways, my body went back to normal. But my mind didn’t, and those realizations stayed. One year later, I started OPR.
I had no money, I had no connections, I had no experience, but somehow, very slowly, over the next 8 years, I made it to where I am right now. I don’t know what it’s going to be like the next time that I’ll be on my death bed, but at least I will know that I gave things an honest try, no matter the outcome.
Follow your dreams, cherish the people that you love, and put your heart and soul into everything that you do. Nothing else is going to matter when your time is going to be up, nobody else is going to do it for you, and you’re not going to get a second chance at any of this.
Don’t let life pass you by.