I found an entry in my 5 Year Journal (I keep one because I am painfully introspective) from this time last year and in it I ask myself not only what I wanted to be when I grew up but if I could even ask that anymore. Can I, at 27, ask people what they want to be when they grow up? The optimist in me says YES OF COURSE and the pessimist, well, we don’t need to hear from him right now. He had too much play last week and made me crabby. So we’re going with YES OF COURSE.
Facing this question again, one year later, comes at a proper time because I did something crazy last week! I’ll get to it in a second, but first, I NEED to know what you wanted to be when YOU grew up. If you’re like me, it changed a couple of times, but pick the profession that made it to your diaries and drawings consecutively for years. The thing you used to boast about. The job or activity that was always on the list whether at the top or bottom.
Got it? Good. Now tell me. Why aren’t you that thing? Do you not want it anymore? Did you find something better? Did you try, fail, and then quit? If you found something better, if you took a textbook profession (“I want to be a doctor”) and flipped them into something unreal (“I am researching a cure for cancer”) then good for you! I think we can let you off the hook.
If you been too afraid to even get close to little kid dream, well then, we need to talk. About fear.
Fear rules my life. It would be so cool if I could say it didn’t. That I was some bad motherf***er with like James-Franco-in-Spring-Breakers
teeth but I’m not. I am afraid of screwing up most of the time. Granted, I was never afraid to cause trouble when I was younger and caused quite a bit. But the thing with causing trouble is that you’re kind of planning to screw your life up on purpose. Now, taking risks with your dreams and goals? That’s something to be afraid of. Those are real messes I have always avoided. But not this week…
When I was a kid I wanted to be a writer. More specifically, I wanted to be on and write for SNL. I wanted to be funny for a living. I even signed autographs in middle school because kids believed I would make it. But in college I couldn’t work up the courage to audition for improv groups, I refused to go to open mic nights, let alone perform at them and worst of all, I didn’t practice. I hid.
So this week, finally, after about a decade of SAYING I was doing something, I DID it and signed up for Improv 101 at Upright Citizens Brigade.
I still feel like throwing up and it’s been about a week since I did it. I think I finally did it because of a freaking magnet I gave my mom when she went back to school to get her BA. I had been thinking about it all month. It said: “It’s never too late to be what you might have been. – George Eliot”. Solid advice right? Even if I think I’m too old to try something new, to do what I’ve always wanted to, George Eliot says I’m not. Man’s got his own magnet quote and everything! Who else am I going to believe?
What I’m saying is this, even if you have a job you gotta keep to pay bills, feed your kids, your fish, yourself. Even if you love the new path you made for yourself, the little tiny child that still lives inside of you (Stephen King I want rights for that if you use it) is sad he never got to try out the dream. And you don’t need to quit your job to do that. Find a school, find a club, find a volunteer opportunity. If there are none of those things go for the DIY (unless you wanted to be a doctor… please no backstreet surgeries and then citing this blog in court).
And if you try and find that little you was totally delusional and you HATE whatever it is. Then I promise you, you never have to do it again. And yes, I’m kind of just looking for people to also go crazy on life with.
Big shout outs to Kate, Roberta, Kelly, Caroline, and Jonathan for letting me text them in the post-class-sign-up panic I had last week.