Monday, July 7, 2008

Discarding a Dream Doesn't Dampen Your Destiny

Life is a funny thing. When you’re young, you have a certain perception as to what your life will become when you’re finally old enough to leave the nest. You are committed to following a certain path, and mentally prepare yourself toward achieving that goal. The direction is so clear to you that nothing is going to get in your way. And then LIFE happens. Because no matter how hard you try, you can never fully predict or anticipate every single factor that will come into play over the course of your existence. For every ying, there is a yang. And you may be yanged in a direction that is so far off your path, you might as well be in a foreign country.

I mention all this because that is exactly what happened to me. From a very early age, I was committed to the life of a struggling artist, peddling my wares on street corners and flea markets until I was finally discovered as the next great talent. Of course, this was a somewhat romanticized vision of my future, based no doubt on too many viewings of “A Star is Born” and too many readings of People magazine and “Hollywood Wives.” But I was a dreamer. Though I would later learn that you also needed a certain amount of artifice, as well as a cutthroat mentality, if you ever intended to succeed in my chosen profession. And an incredibly thick skin, because becoming an artist means opening yourself up to all kinds of harsh criticism and negative, destructive influences. Why anyone would willfully subject themselves to this kind of rude and insensitive behavior on a daily basis is beyond me, and yet that’s exactly what I did.

For years I allowed myself to suffer through some of the most painfully embarrassing experiences in pursuit of my goal, because I was certain it would all eventually pay off. Then years went by, and I finally had to face the fact that the dream I had for my life would have to be altered. And though at first I was somewhat devastated, I ultimately discovered this adjustment actually gave me the freedom I needed to truly grow. Because now I was no longer chained to the perceptions I had of my life when I was younger. Now I could do whatever I wanted, opening up even more possibilities and avenues for me to explore. Instead of being defeated, I felt more like a Phoenix rising from the ashes.

And now, for some reason, I am in a fever pitch of creativity. The ideas and concepts are continually popping in my head, and I feel a flurry of energy to complete as many of those projects as possible. I even wake up in the middle of the night with bizarre thoughts of future rubber duck movies, or a song that would make a good parody. I don’t know why I am compelled to make the little movies, or to sing the songs, or to even write this blog. Except that I get complete and utter satisfaction from all of it. Some people may say “you have too much time on your hands” But that’s not true at all. In fact, I don’t have enough time. Because I am constantly working on various projects, or socializing with friends, or attending to the house and yard. I even get in some quality TV and movie viewing, so I am never without something to do.

But these little creative projects are what I choose to do. This is what I love to do. Create. To be creative. To find the humor in something and share it with others. That is what I was born to do, and that is what gives me the most satisfaction. And so my dream is still actually alive, after all. It didn’t go away. I didn’t lose it. In fact, I’m actually living it. I just took away what wasn’t important and concentrated on what was. Because like the song says, “Merrily, Merrily, Merrily, Merrily, Life is but a dream.”

But that’s just me. What happened to the childhood dream you had for your life?

12 comments:

Marie said...

I know that when I was young I was ready to conquer the world head on. However, when life throws some unexpected hurdles our way, it changes one's perspective on a lot of things.

The most important thing for me, is to learn from all of the experiences that come my way, know that I've done the best in any given situation and to never have any regrets.

And most definitely, to find something that you can really absorb yourself in, have a lot of fun and let your creativity flow is certainly important. It's great to hear that you have found the thing that brings the best out of you :)

PS: Henson, please add the option 'Name/URL' to your comments section. I feel really stupid leaving this below, as my blogger account does not have our main website (ie: vividlamp.com).

Cheers,
Marie

Daisy said...

I'm glad you keep making your little movie shorts because I like watching them!

Bay Head Blog said...

Greetings, Oh Creative One...

Today I flew in on a rented magic carpet to share the Magic Lamp of Luck from the Genies!

Roxy

Matthew S. Urdan said...

Publishing a novel...still working on it....writing is the dream and the reality. Good post.

Roxiticus Best Blogs said...

Oh, and I'm having a little dinner party over at my Roxiticus Best Blogs and you're invited...in fact, at the moment, you're the guest of honor! No homework required. Just dress accordingly.

Roxy

Jenaisle said...

Hello, I was smiling while reading your post, thinking, how similar it is with my own experience.

When I was "younger", I had visions in my mind of a famous writer whose novels are well read in the four corners of the world and translated into various languages.

I held on to this dream till I was in my teens and was further encouraged to pursue it as the "stories" that I wrote then were given ample recognition by the small school where I went to.

When I graduated however, reality bit me. Almost everyone I knew, discouraged me from pursuing that "pipe dream". "Whatever you got, is not enough. There are millions of better aspiring writers than you, so your chance is like a drop in the vast ocean of writing."

And so, I forgot all about after college and married life. In fact, gave it up altogether...and then I chanced upon blogging and I was overjoyed because I realized that I had the liberty to write my story and the chance to be read...

For the first time in so many years, now that I'm more than middle aged...(grins), I began to pick up the bits and pieces of my TRUE dreams and started writing again.

It does not matter if I barely recognize my past tense from my present tense, my similes from my metaphors. (because I should have enrolled in these classes in college - if I had the courage then to pursue my true dream.) What matters most is that I'm truly happy now, because I'm doing what I love most - writing.

Thanks for sharing a nostalgic and heart warming post.

tashabud said...

Henson, you've written a great post that surely touches almost everyone. For the most part, people with visions of living a certain life will eventually end up living it in the end. There might be many diversions along the way, but in the end, if they still have their dreams and desire, they eventually end up living it, just like you and Jena. I hope that my dream of becoming a successful romance novelist will also be fulfilled, in the end.

Debbie said...

"Dream a little dream, dream, dream, dream......." Mama Cass Elliot

"nothing happens unless first we dream" Carl Sandburg

"Discarding a Dream Doesn't Dampen Your Destiny" Henson Ray

great quotes to live by, I imagine!

fragileheart said...

I allowed my childhood dream to flitter away in the wind. And now I'm usually suffering from some sort of cough or another and am too sick to sing so I usually can't even do it for fun anymore :( One day though I'll be free of these allergies and I'll be able to join a choir and get back into singing!

BK said...

When I was very young, I wanted to be a pilot. Then my short-sightedness failed me or rather I failed myself for not taking good care of my own eye sight. Then the next thought was to become a teacher. That passed too after a while. It is only recently that I rediscover the joy of teaching, of how I can have positive effects on people around me.

Henson Ray said...

Marie--Thanks for stopping by. I added the options you requested. To be honest, I wasn't even aware they weren't already there. Thanks for pointing it out.

Daisy--Thanks. The Cat Clips appear to be the most popular on YouTube.

Bay Head Blog--You may be listed here as the Bay Head Blog, but I'd know that mischievious copy anywhere. You are too good to me, Miss Roxy. And you appear twice, which as you know, is twice as nice.

Matt--You seem to be all the right things, including networking, which is always helpful in building an audience for your book.

Jenaisle--Thanks for sharing your story. It's so interesting to hear how others have reacted to this posting. I'm really amazed at all the stories coming out of it.

Tashabud--If you are able to write the type of novels you love, than in my opinion, you're already successful. The next step is to figure out how to make lots of money at it, which will hopefully make you wealthy as well.

Deb--Wow, you flatter me by putting me in the same company with those people. Thanks.

fragileheart--I'm sorry to hear you are currently unable to do the one thing you enjoy so much. I hope that circumstances change, so you are once again free to sing to your heart's content.

bk--Sounds like you found a new kind of success later in life. Just goes to show you that you can discover new things about yourself and your potential at any age. Congrats on your new vocation.

Marie said...

Henson, thanks soooo much for adding the name/url, it makes it easier for me to comment on your site :)

Cheers,
Marie