Ask almost any child what they want to be when they grow up and the answer will almost always be something that pertains to outer space, animals, or cowboys.
Fast forward a few years and their focus has changed considerably to a job that makes a lot of money.
And I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that people inevitably turn out to have this view. It’s been instilled in us since childhood, though maybe not intentionally, that although you should definitely pursue your dream, unless your dream includes a stable income and a 9 to 5 work day, you won’t be able to live the American dream.
Yes, it is true. Money, in a way, does make the world go round. It’s an important part of our society, and without it, most order would be lost. We can’t just pretend that money isn’t important to us, or that we’d rather live in squalor than have even the basic amenities we currently underappreciate. But I believe the dividing line among people is that which separates those willing to satisfy themselves with a stable future and those who choose passion over “sense.”
This is a sad future for those of us pursuing the arts – a seemingly popular but little rewarded interest – and also a realistic one. The arts is not a “sensible” passion (hence why most parents disapprove of the musician stage). It is not guaranteed income nor typically affiliated with any regular job fair, and is thus a dangerous pursuit for many. Yet we pursue it anyway.
But the reality is, many of us will not make it big. We’ll get rejected at least 51 times. Our hopes will be dashed, and our rent missed. Many struggling actors and actresses, writers, and budding opera singers will work nights as a member of the wait staff at a restaurant, practice their craft til all hours of the morning, and then skip off to find more work.
It will be hard, and we’ll wonder why we didn’t just become doctors like our parents wanted. We’ll lose sight of hope now and again. But during all these hardships, we hold a sense of happiness within us that fuels our hearts to keep beating. We understand that although artists must endure far more uncertainty than others, we have the love of our craft to keep us going.
Despite all our dreaming, though, we probably won’t be the next Rowling or Spielberg. We won’t be rolling in the dough anytime soon, if ever, and there’s a huge possibility that we’ll be working several jobs our entire lives just to make ends meet in a money-hungry world. So, theoretically, it should be normal to prefer a life of ease, of money.
But when the topic of future careers was brought up amongst my group of friends, I was the odd one out. Most hoped to work as an event planner, have a business career, be a psychologist, or at the very least, marry into the MLB.
“I plan on being an author…or at least a writer of some sort – maybe for a magazine or something like that. But I plan on being dead broke for a while, so I’m sure I’ll have lots of jobs to pay the bills.”
I laughed and was met with confused faces: Why would you want to do that?
“I love what I do, so I guess I don’t really mind.”