(Joan Sutherland at the Old Met in Lucia)
We all had dreams when we were younger, some of us wanted to be astronauts, others wanted to be the president, and some wanted to be actors or actresses. Yet, once we start growing up and start hitting middle school we get asked again about what it is we want to be when we grow up. And we are told to be realistic. At that point, a lot of kids start thinking about what it is they want to be (the backup plan), and many go onto medical school, become lawyers, or become teachers. Although many of us go to school become something more “realistic”, our dreams and passions are put on the back burner, and they are just left there for us to fantasize about what your life would be like if you were an actor or actress, or if you had become that astronaut. And that is all you do, just fantasize.
Here is the thing, instead of just going for a backup plan of your choice, why don’t you go with what you are truly passionate about? Why don’t you go down to a talent agency and put in your resume and headshots, and start working with an agent? Why don’t you go apply to college, to study the field that you want to be in? To be an astronaut? To focus on whatever your heart and soul is pushing you towards? Because society, your parents, and other adults who have put aside their own dreams and own passions tell you that you should be realistic, that you should forget about it because you will never become that. And they are wrong. You may not become the next A- lister of Hollywood, or you may not become the president; you will however be able to land roles of a lifetime, the roles that you will get to share your experience with to your grandchildren. You can still make a difference if you don’t become the president, in fact, you could be the next congressman or the next politician who will make a difference in someone’s life.
Some of us are even afraid to admit what it is that drives us, what it is that makes us want to reach towards the stars with our dreams and start following that path. And some of us are afraid of telling others what our true passions are, for the fear of judgment and ridicule will hover over our heads. I know. For years I have never told anyone, never told anyone of my passions and would always practice them in secret. To be a writer, yes, that is a passion of mine that I have been following for years and thoroughly enjoy it and truly am content with. Helping others to better themselves and to heal themselves, brings joy into my heart. To be a ballerina and to be on The Met (Metropolitan Opera) stage and sing my lungs and heart out; those are the two things that I have always wanted to do but have never pushed myself to do them. Why? Because there is that voice in the back of my head from all of those years of listening to others telling me that I will never make it and that it is unrealistic. However, despite listening to them, I practice. I practice my singing skills (I grew up in a musical household and on the stage, despite being introverted), and sing opera songs nearly everyday to see how high I can hit the notes. And with the help I had during my junior year of high school, my musical instructor figured out that I am a natural second soprano, which I did not know. I practice dancing, for dancing brings me joy and lets me be me. In everyday life, I can trip over my feet just by walking because I am a clumsy fool; however, when I hear music, I do not have any problems at all. For the music and I have become one and I can easily glide across the floor. Maybe one day I will make it to The Met. Maybe one day I will get the chance to perform in The Nutcracker. Maybe? If that word leaves my mouth one more time I will scream. Because there should never be a maybe attached to a sentence. Because one day I will get to The Met, and one day I will get to a part in a production on stage as a dancer.
Never let someone tell you that you are never going to make it, never let anyone tell you that you need to be more realistic and that you need to settle for some job that you do not like. Because you will be miserable. Miserable because you have not done the things that you have wanted to do, miserable because you sit at home on a Friday night binge eating a tub of ice cream because you had never pursued your passions. Instead of listening to society, to all of those who question your talent, your passions and your dreams, this is what you need to do… never give up. That is it. That is all you need to do. To never give up.