Saturday, March 26, 2011

On Dreams

On Monday, an essay I wrote about "doing what I love" was featured on a blog, and the response I got from several of my friends and family members was completely unexpected.
I knew Sarah's story was inspirational.  She's worked so hard to succeed in her career, and that hard work has finally paid off in the form of her dream job.  It's been rough on her lately, but if you'd told Sarah four years ago that one day she'd be planning a shoot in Mongolia for a National Geographic wildlife documentary, I think she would have just about died from happiness.  And now, in less than two months, Sarah will be on her way to Mongolia to film wolves and horses and weird cat-things I've never heard of.  Now that's inspiring!
But my story?  Well, mine was more about pursuing a dream and failing (or at least not being there yet).  And still, several people told me they were inspired by my story.  I thought in order to inspire people you had to fulfill your dreams.  I didn't realize that just having a dream could be inspiring too.

It's a funny thing, this idea of a "dream job."  Growing up, we all had one: movie star, professional athlete, circus performer, president...  But then we became adults, and we realized that dreams don't always pay the bills, so we got "real jobs."  And for most people, that dream job got tucked away somewhere in the recesses of our imaginations, only to be taken out and dusted off when someone asks us, "What did you want to be when you grew up?"
But Sarah and I, who are apparently still twelve, never gave up on the idea of the dream job.  I asked my good friend M one time what her dream job was, and her answer was a variation of the field she was currently working in.  No, no, I pushed, your dream job.  Wouldn't you want to be x?  Well, yes, she agreed, that would be the dream job.  She hadn't really considered it an appropriate answer because it wasn't realistic. Well, right, I said.  That's why it's called a dream job.  I asked if she'd really never thought about it, and she said no, she hadn't; apparently not everyone still believes their dream job is attainable.  Which is kind of sad.  But also probably way more realistic.  Especially if your dream job was to be president.

Still, wouldn't the world be a wonderful place if we could all find a way to get paid to do what we love?  At least two people in my life have managed it (Sarah and John - hello, wildlife documentary filmmaker and fighter pilot!).  Maybe one day I'll get there too...

So the week started out great.  Everyone was inspired, no one told me they thought my story was lame, and we were still celebrating John's acceptance into the Foreign Service.
But then, that horrible, soul-crushing, dream-smooshing monster called Doubt started to creep in.  I began to doubt everything, from my talent as a writer to my ability to handle the constant rejection (three this week, including one partial). 
Most of all, I'm starting to doubt if my dream will ever come true.  What if all this hard work doesn't pay off?  What if my manuscripts remain unpublished at the bottom of my desk forever?  What if in thirty years I'm telling Jack the story of how I once tried to be an author, but I failed miserably?   WHAT THEN?!?!?!?

Well, I suppose I'll be able to tell him that I had a dream in the first place.
Which, I'm learning, is far more inspiring than having no dream at all.


Sarah said...

Thanks for believing in me, Mar - I still feel like I have soooo far to go. At least we're on the path - now we have to just keep swimming!

Mer! said...

This won't ever happen because you will be READING one of your stories to, um, well, at least by that point you will have dabbled in writing for wee ones as well so you'll have to enter that genre too :). Believing in yourself and having persistence to stick with it (in freakouts and in good times :) is what will get you're doing awesome Mar, I know you don't believe it..but you will......

Massive hugs...and Mongolia...WOAH had no idea..will look forward to Sarah's pics! COOL!

Hugs Mar!

Shauna said...

You inspire me every day. Going after your dream while being a wonderful wife, mother, sister, and friend. Chin up love, you will get there because you are too determined not to :)