Last week, a co-worker and I had a conversation that was very disturbing to me. The thread of the conversation went something like this:
- You go to high school understanding you must go to college
- You go to college understanding you must study hard so you can get a good job
- You get a good job so you can have a family and buy a house
- You spend about two to four waking hours in that home you bought a day
- You spend the majority of your adult life hating your job and wishing you would have followed your dream
- You die
Sigh. It’s an ugly reality, but that’s our society.
It doesn’t exactly have to be that way. There are so many out there with dreams they desperately want to follow — but don’t out of either fear of change or fear their livelihood will no longer exist. Both fears are legitimate — especially those with families. And the idea of bringing in a comfortable income is usually looked upon as an equal exchange for denying your dreams.
Now, I am certainly not saying you should quit your day job and give your dreams a go. What I AM saying, however, is that you must do everything you can to maintain those dreams — even if it means you have to work more than you want, have less “me” time, and even make other sacrifices. Maintaining that dream (even if in the background) means that, at some point in your life, you might be able to make the dream your only reality.
There are, of course, other alternatives. Let me give you a very personal example.
As everyone on the Dark Hayride knows, I was an actor for a very long time. It was my dream and I lived it — for over twenty years. But eventually the economy caught up to the world of theatre and smashed it under its non-art-loving capitalistic thumb. I retired and took up a pair of scissors and a blow dryer to become a hair stylist. That lasted all of three years until I hopped over to PC support. Throughout this whole journey — the one common thread was writing. I started writing well into my acting career and continued on. Once I retired from acting, writing became my only means to feed my artistic soul. And I do adore writing.
But over the last few months, something else has arisen from the ashes of my burned up acting career — book narration. So now, I am working tirelessly to rebuild my acting career in the form of book narration. Now, I have a leg up on this as I worked for the Publishing House for the Blind recording books about ten years ago — so I know the ropes. My goal? Build up a name for myself so that clients begin coming to me for book narration. At that point… the whole “working for the man” will be a thing of the past — unless you consider me the man. But that’s another story all together.
What I’m trying to say is that you can follow your dreams. You may not be able to put 100% of your effort into them at first, but it is crucial to anyone with dreams to not flush them down the dark abyss. When your soul has been touched by truth, you know sitting behind a desk for 8-10 hours a day will eventually drain you of your will to live. That eventually translates into your home life where you will make everyone around you miserable.
Do I sound like I speak from experience? 😉
Life is too short to listen to bad music, read bad books, and work under oppression. And as hard as it may see at the moment, so long as you never give up on your dreams… there is always hope.