I’m not the only person in my peer group who had dreams, once, but I’m slowly creeping toward being the only one still actively working on achieving those dreams. Some dreams go fast. If you’re twenty-five, and just starting to dance, you’re never going to be a prima ballerina. Not every kid gets to be an astronaut, and most kids are too smart to want to be the President of the United States.
Maybe I’m lucky my dreams have a longer shelf life than most. If you had to be a writer by a certain age, or you’re done, I’d be in trouble. I made up most of my own deadlines, and then, I pole-vaulted over them. Not everybody can do that. Football (too late.) Gymnast (too late.) Mutant Superhero? (Still waiting on that reactor melt down.)
I still have a real chance. And, if you’re like me–if you’re one of the artists, the creators, the intellectuals, dragging people back into your own head–you still have a chance to grab your dreams, too. It doesn’t matter if you’re eight, or eighty.
Even so, I knew other kids who wanted to be writers, poets, artists… and they’re not.
They moved on to more practical things. More linear career paths.
At some point, they got out of high school, ran out of electives in college, and decided their dreams weren’t worth fighting for. Maybe they were pressured.
Parents like stability. So do romantic partners and future children. And society. We’ve all heard the jokes about “I’m a writer” being a euphemism for unemployed. And out here, in the real world, you’re going to be surrounded by people who gave up, or whose dreams timed out, or who never really knew what their dreams were in the first place.
And creatives are smart people. They’re absolutely capable of the doctor/lawyer/accountant path. So…. a lot of them turn.
Keep trying. Keep working. Keep your dreams close. I know it’s hard. I’m right there with you, thinking about selling life insurance to hamsters. I know the temptation to walk away, and do something that looks good on a resume and impresses people at the high school reunion.
I think you should keep chasing your own dreams.
But if you don’t…
Don’t be a doctor or a lawyer to make your mother or father happy. It won’t make you happy.
Be a cup of coffee to make me happy.