Growing up in theatre, I’ve learned that more often than not, people will doubt you. Elaborate and daring dreams are adorable when you’re 5, but by the time you move on to college, people expect you to move on from your childhood dreams as well. You now must give in to society; succumb to its pressure to sacrifice that dream of being a Grammy winning singer for the respectable career of an accountant. Now is the time to squash whatever hopes you had of becoming an Olympian and embrace a career in business.
Throughout high school I had teachers try to convince me numerous times to not pursue theatre. They happened to be (failed) actors who sold out and became high school teachers instead. They feared I would be wasting my brains and should instead set my sights on a profession in foreign languages or a governmental job, something a bit more professional and lucrative. After holding on to concerns like these from my teachers and others for years now, I began to look at it with a different perspective. Perhaps these people don’t have my best interests entirely in mind. Perhaps they were just envious. It must be intimidating to encounter someone who knows exactly what they want to do and believes so fervently in themselves that they will succeed. Why can’t we all have that confidence within ourselves? It was so easy when we were children to say with 100% confidence “When I grow up, I’m going to be an astronaut” or “When I grow up, I’m going to be a great actress.” Our imagination deteriorates with age, as does our self-esteem, and that is an epic tragedy.
Of course I should address that often people begin life in the real world fully intending to live out their dreams. I understand that extenuating circumstances sometimes lead people down paths different from their dreams, and living our dreams is not an easy task especially in today’s world. Obstacles do occur and deter us from the direction we really want to go, but they are obstacles for a reason. We are meant to attack our obstacles head on and overcome them. There is no reason why we all can’t have a job that makes us passionately happy.
Obviously, dreams morph and change a bit from our toddler days to college; ruling the world isn’t exactly a profession as you grow up, but it is absolutely essential to not sell yourself out to appease society. There are moments when you doubt even yourself and your abilities, another lesson I learned from my involvement in theatre. In those situations, get in touch with your inner child. Be true to your childhood passion and enthusiasm for your life and never lose that. Find what brings you happiness and fulfillment and live the life you dreamed about. If you’re embarking on whatever your intended career path is only because it appears to be more lucrative, stable and respectable than your dream job, then you’ve already lost.