Thursday, May 9, 2013

Settling Down

There was a story on NPR this morning about following your passion/dream.  The point of the story was there was this young man who didn't have a passion for anything and so he didn't know what to do.  That is not the point of my story.

I would like to address the issue of following your dream.  Now, I recognize that when people talk about following your dream, they are usually thinking about people under the age of 173, assuming that people as old as I am can no longer distinguish between dreams and reality anyway.  But our advanced age give us, in addition to hairy ear canals and decrepit skin, some wisdom in this area.  So, if I may...

It can work, but not very often.  (Sorry.  That was rather anti-climatic.)  And this is what it depends on:

1.  If it is remotely possible.  I mean, if your dream is to swim across the Atlantic Ocean in a single breath, without benefit of additional oxygen, that dream will be short-lived.  And so will you.

2.  You *really* want it.  

3.  You *really* want it so much, you are willing to work your ass off for it.

4.  You get unbelievably lucky.

5.  You have a shitload of money.

In my case, I realized at the tender age of 23 that as far as me becoming a working actor:

1.  It wasn't

2.  I did....but,

3.  I wasn't

4.  The only luck I have is bad.  That is what "luck of the Irish" really means.

5.  Hahahahahahahaha!!

So, I settled for being able to do something for a living (not a career, mind you, A Job) that would allow me to have a roof over my head and beer in my belly and pursue my passion on the side. 

A  major advantage to having your passion as your hobby, instead of your livelihood (at least in the case of theatre) is that when it's your hobby and you're not doing a show it's called "a break".  When it's your livelihood and you're not doing a show it's called "panic".  I'm not fond of panic.  Plus, waiting tables wouldn't work for me, because if I stand for more than a half hour I pass out.  That would probably lessen my tips. 

Now, your results may vary in this experience.  But the other variable that oldies like me see in this equation is that life is really, fucking short and getting shorter every day.  And I have known too many people I cared about who were here one minute and then they weren't.  And while it is great to have something to work towards, it really is about the journey, not the destination and since we're on our way down, we might as well enjoy the ride, and what a fucked-up paragrah this has been!!  (And, also, credit to Mr. James Taylor for the way down/enjoy the ride part.)

So,  young'uns, I have no advice for you.  You wouldn't take it if I did.  (Damn, there goes my mother talking out of my mouth again!)  Passions are good, but so is paying rent. You make the call.

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