From an e-mail that I sent to another group of people I know:
I’ve been in a discussion with others about the pursuit of one’s dreams. I thought of all of you and our time with (our city newspaper's) community columnist panel. I am writing to you all now, because I thought that maybe you can relate to what I’m about to discuss below.
What brought this topic up is the fact that I’ve been writing and drawing for years. My dream is to either be a columnist or an editorial cartoonist for a city newspaper, and preferably both. But the field of column writing and cartooning is difficult to break into unless you are either of a very exceptional talent or you have connections. And yet, despite the fact that very, very few “hit it big”, there are many, many dreamers out there hoping for such success in their respective fields. So the topic of discussion then became “When is it time for the dreamer to stop dreaming?”
Of course, the news biz has struggled in recent years, and is not really looking to hire for such positions from outside its current staff, except by freelance or in a part time/temp (and in our case a couple of years ago – unpaid) way. That limits my options, of course, and the only way I can keep in the practice of writing is by blogging – which I am doing. So, with the odds against me, why do I keep on?
Maybe I’m too stubborn or too stupid to realize that it’s nearly hopeless, but it’s just not in my nature to quit. Plus, success stories HAVE happened, and some of them have happened to people with even more odds against them than I’ve had. In addition to that, I have others – young people, including my nephews and niece – who look up to me and watch what I do. What kind of example would I set by giving up on the dream? I guess I’m saying that I’d rather go down fighting than one day find myself wondering “what might have been” had I kept on just a little longer.
And yet, not everyone gets to be a big rock star. Not everyone gets that role where they get an Oscar. Not everyone gets elected president. Not everyone gets to be the starting point guard for the Dallas Mavericks. For every Jason Kidd, there are thousands of point guards out there who would love to have his job. But even Jason Kidd had to start somewhere. Maybe it’s not the goal, but the journey. (I’m starting to get philosophical here!).
Even if I never reach my goals, I still learned lessons along the way, including finding out that I can do it. I can write columns and stories that get published and are enjoyed by others. I can draw cartoons that make people laugh and think. The talent IS there. That knowledge alone is comforting in that it tells me that I wasn’t wasting my time by practicing writing and drawing. And if I can teach my nephews and niece to not make the same mistakes I did, then maybe I can help them achieve THEIR dreams.
Maybe that’s what my journey is about. If I can at least do that for them, then it will make my own efforts and struggles worth the trip. And so, I press on, but I do it for them, and for others who look up to me. I do it for those who have supported me, and have wished and prayed for my success. It’s for all those people that I press on, and it’s my hope that one day I can give them the happy news of my success. But if it never happens, at least they’ll know that I tried. So the answer to the question of “When is it time for the dreamer to stop dreaming” is: Never. Go down swinging, but learn to pick your fights.
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3 months ago