In less than an hour, I head out the door to do something I’ve always wanted to do, but have never been able to make happen. I’m heading to a recording studio where I will record my first ever album. At almost 48 years of age.
After so many years of wishing, trying, and having plans fall through, I had resigned myself to the fact that this would never happen. But here I am – on the verge of realizing a dream that is nearly lifelong. Nervous? Yup. Excited? Definitely.
Truth be told, the concept is still fairly surreal to me. But here goes nothing!
I’ve started and deleted this post a number of times. I try very hard to be diplomatic in the things I say here. Sometimes I vent a bit but I try DESPERATELY never to name names or vent exceedingly personal things here when they can be better handled by a private journal or a face-to-face discussion with a specific person. Sometimes this means that I have to go overboard to make it clear that particular post is not about any one person specifically. Such is the case here – this is strictly about ME and a question I cannot seem to answer on my own.
I’m caught in a challenging place and I’m not sure how to handle it. I’m hoping that by sharing it here I will have some clarity at the end or at least a better sense of “why”. Who knows? Someone who reads this may have a brilliant insight to share that will solve everything! (Hey – a girl can dream, can’t she?!)
Confucius has been credited with saying, “Choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.”
I’ve always wondered about that saying. I enjoyed moments in my jobs but can’t say that I have ever loved the jobs I’ve done. With one exception – theater. Nothing compares to the thrill of either getting up in front of an audience or spending weeks directing/choreographing a show and watching it come to life on opening night! Unfortunately, I figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up after I had already obtained a degree in another field.
At present I am holding down three part-time jobs, only one of them in the world of the performing arts (I absolutely love accompanying the FDSH choirs!). I have the opportunity to volunteer my time with the color guard at the local high school as they work on their fall show and I am loving the chance to work with and get to know those young ladies! But I went into it knowing it was a volunteer thing.
Stage Door Productions – a theater company specializing in small cast musicals with a summer youth theater program (and a dream of mine for 2 decades!) – is finally coming to life (our premiere event is in January 2014!) but no paycheck from that adventure (yet – the hope is to eventually change that). But it’s something I’ve wanted to do for so many years that I have to see it through now that I’ve been given the chance!
So here is the challenge – the things I MOST enjoy right now, the things that bring me the strongest sense of accomplishment, the things that most make me feel that I am functioning according to my basic design, do not offer a paycheck. I’ve been taught to have a strong work ethic for as long as I can remember and feel obligated to give the best of my energy and efforts to those ventures that are providing a paycheck right now. I want to provide financially and I don’t want to lose time with my family. So how far do I go to help my dream take flight? I am surrounded by AMAZING friends who have agreed to be on the Board of Directors for Stage Door. It’s such a rush to have friends who not only encourage you to chase your dreams but who also come alongside you and make the chase their own. But the dream is mine so I need to be a part of the process of getting this venture up and running. Unfortunately, the part-time jobs sap so much of my energy that there isn’t much left at the end of the day!
It’s the eternal problem of the mom who works outside the home – how does a woman balance work, family, and home without completely giving up on her dreams?
When do we reach the point that we begin to believe we should just stop dreaming? At what age do we believe we are obligated to stop chasing our dreams?
I’m not sure what the magic number is. But I know that I had reached a point some time ago that left me ashamed to talk about a dream that I had. I hid the information for quite some time; nearly ten years, in fact. When we ended up in Fort Dodge, circumstances presented themselves that allowed me to talk about my dream without admitting it was a dream. After discussing what I calmly referred to as “an idea” or “something I was inspired to consider” things started happening. Before I fully grasped what was happening, the wheels were in motion to make my “idea” a reality.
When I got the email that stated my dream was official I was excited. I opened the email and clicked on the attachment. Reading through quite a bit of legal jargon, I got teary-eyed. With those tears came the admittance to myself and to my hubby that this wasn’t just an idea. It was dream; a long-standing one at that. This dream has been with me through more than a decade of my life and living in three different states! I don’t why it didn’t start happening until now. The sane side of my brains says that I’m a little old to be chasing dreams.
But I’m going to keep chasing! Stage Door Productions has been bouncing around in my heart and head for more than ten years. That dream has become an incorporated, non-profit entity in the state of Iowa and we are working our way through the process of becoming a non-profit organization in the eyes of the IRS. Our first production is being planned for early 2014. I have amazing friends – and fellow theater lovers – who have come alongside to share the adventure as board members, supporters, etc. It’s one thing to have people encourage you to chase your dreams; it’s quite a different thing to have people join you on the journey!
I have felt overwhelmed, terrified, thrilled, freaked out, ecstatic, nervous, panicked, ambitious, driven, numb and a thousand other things. Yes, I’m in my mid-forties and some might think it’s insane for a woman my age to start a new adventure like this. Then call me crazy! I have no idea what this will all look like in the end but I’m going to enjoy the ride!
Nothing too profound tonight. Just more thoughts crowding my mind regarding the passage of time and the growth of my kids, both biological and honorary.
If there is one piece of information I would embed in the brain of every high school senior, college student – let’s just say every young adult – it would be this: life is one big improv exercise and we are ALL living by the creed “fake it till you make it.”
My youngest daughter is a senior this year. She and a number of her classmates have expressed some dismay and stress over having to have life all figured out. Yeah, I’m still waiting to get there.
I know of more than a few 20 somethings who are stressing about “what they want to be when they grow-up.”
Let me lay it out in simple terms – I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in music education and a Master’s degree in Education. Yes, I’m using the Master’s as an adjunct professor and I use my musical training all the time accompanying the choirs in the local high school as well as teaching private voice and piano students. I have also taught music in literally every grade K-12 – general music, choral music, even some instrumental music instruction.
But along the way I’ve also worked as a cocktail waitress in a country club and on the banquet staff at the same facility. I was a successful salesperson with a home party business. Did some substitute teaching, clerical temp work, retail work . . . in other words, my career path has been nothing close to a straight line.
And I wouldn’t trade any of the lessons I’ve learned or experiences I’ve had.
If you are a young person in college, looking to go to college or wondering what to do with your life, give yourself a break! Most of us are just making it up as we go along! The maturity comes in when we learn to dance as often as possible, smile at every opportunity, and laugh whenever we have the chance! Don’t get so focused on the destination that you miss the fun on the journey.