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When do dreams end? When do we "give up" on what we would like to do and just do what we HAVE to do? When I was a kid, I was very sci-fi interested and also NASA interested. I thought that maybe I would become an astronaut. Of course, I didn't know all of the elements of what it took to be an astronaut. Then again, what it took to be an astronaut was kinda arbitrary... it was part military PR, part American Image, part scientific researcher and part military skills. That was way more military than I could ever be.

Later, the US Manned Space Program gave up on the US. No trips to Mars. No more flights to the moon. Just a really fancy craft to circle our globe, which was already being circled by a lot of stuff. And the one time they let a "regular person" fly in it, the thing blew up. So, yeah. No outer space for me.

But the concept of "knowing" when a dream is "over" is a difficult, emotional, and sometimes impossible situation. If you have defined yourself by your dream, what happens when you are called upon to say no?

I guess parents are the first hurdle help when it comes to all of this. They can be discouraging or extremely discouraging, depending on their world view. But their world view is rooted in what they know of the world, and that info may be out of date or just plain wrong.

Parents mean well, but really, they mean to hedge their bets too. It's not that they don't think you can do whatever it is you wanted to do, but they just don't want to deal with spending their IRAs on your dream and not having that money for their retirement. Also, they were young and had dreams, long before you were born. They likely gave up their dream to deal with you. So, there's that element playing into it. I guess there could also be resentment from siblings, favoritism, cost of living issues and other factors.

Conversely, the reverse of all this are parents like stage moms who push their kids into show biz or beauty pageants, trying to project the dream they had for themselves and convert that into success for their kids. It's understandable, but probably not the most healthy choice, especially if it's something that you have no interest in doing, or are only doing it to please mom or dad.

So, you have a dream. Your own dream. You got big dreams. You want fame. Well, let me tell you, fame costs. And right here is where you'll start paying. In sweat! Yeah... that show about that school for the arts.

It is an interesting and continuing concept: a school for the arts. The whole world of creativity is one we want to pursue. Being creative is the most personal method of self-expression, and really, now we're getting to the root of it. You can learn the basic skills of how to take a photograph, how to use a pen and ink, how to phrase dialogue for a script, but that isn't the creative part. What you do with that once you learn it, IS. In other words, you are the creative part.

YOU ARE THE CREATIVE PART.

Do you have something to say that hasn't been said, or hasn't been said just that way before? Do you have a view that lets you see a side of life that hasn't been seen in quite that way? That's what elements of creativity are sprouting and those are the people who can, should and must be pursuing a career in creation.

That's not to say we all don't have our moments of brilliance when it comes to realization in this realm. We are all creative beings to a greater or lesser extent. But being "creative" applies to everything, and sometimes the most creative thing you can do is come up with a method to allow you to create. You are challenged because you need to make a living, and yet you know you MUST write a novel, or play music, or act. There is a danger of needing to exit your comfort zone in order to accomplish what you know in your heart you must do. That takes some talent.

Talent. What is "talent," anyway? Is it something you're naturally good at; is it something that you can learn easily? Our USA world is focused on commercial quality. This relates to those Original 7 Astronauts. They had "The Right Stuff" because they looked the part, which was important because television and newspapers were flashing their pictures all over the planet. What these guys looked like may not have had any bearing on their jobs, but it certainly helped to sell the space program to the nation. And isn't that how JFK and his handsome family got elected too? We can, do, and do often judge a book by its cover.

Sometimes I'll flip through the society pages of The New York Times and I muse at the "well to do" people who are frequently 7 or 8th generation New Yorkers, people who are members of the Blue Book, and who may stride the same sidewalks as I do, but live on a totally different planet. What's the difference there? These are people who have enormous wealth, and have enormous opportunity because they are all connected in an insulated way, from the chattel that are the mass transportation riding, get your morning coffee at a bodega, rent not own, paycheck to paycheck grunts that take up most of the space in this town, and really, this Earth.

You need a heaping helping of creativity to blast through that granite.

It also relates to the people running this three card monte game. Who is in charge of the industry related to your dream? Which door checker holds the clipboard behind that velvet rope to the castle you hope to enter? And once you get inside, how do you make it to the VIP room?

This is why parents are losing their minds, trying to get their children into the "right" NURSERY SCHOOL! Which one does Gwyneth use? What about Brooke? How about Tom and Katie (for avoidance purposes only). The point being that connecting, networking is the way it works. Get to know and become BFFs with the best people and your future will be secure! Sort of. Securer? Well, that's for you to decide. You're the decider.

And so it all comes back to you. This dream world we live in, where dreams come true, daily. Where overnight success is just three letters away: Y-E-S. And where we dream of more, always more.

The truth is, the dream never ends. If we are religious, many of us believe in an afterlife reward. Perhaps we'll go to heaven. Maybe we'll be reincarnated as a higher life form, or, if we're really lucky, be reborn in a galaxy at the opposite end of the Universe! But that doesn't help with the here and now.

So, what does help? One of my maxims is: "Doing something is easy once you know what you have to do." This is why I don't buy into the Tom Brokaw "Greatest Generation" concept so much. World War II. Hitler rises to power and is attempting to take over the world. What should you do? Obviously, you're going to try to stop him. So, in a way that's about as easy as it gets. A clear villain makes for a simple task. It's when you don't have a clue about what to do that the doing gets difficult. And that's the story of my generation, and to a greater or lesser extent, the story of anyone who wants to do anything creative.

Step One: try to define two things - what you want to do and what steps you must take to get there as quickly as possible.

Believe it or not, people can dream without being specific enough! Wanting to play in a band is a nice dream. But not nearly specific. I mean, do you want Fleetwood Mac or the USC Trojan Marching Band? I guess if you're playing "Tusk," it doesn't matter. But in order to know what you want, you need to know what you want. The getting there is the bigger part of the equation.

Obviously some dreams have expiration dates. If you're 25 and want to start an Olympic gymnastics career, well, sorry. That isn't going to happen. But, feel free to push your kids into athletics! They should start about age 3 or so.

It's always helpful to know what those are and how close to sour the contents of that container is for you.

Once you figured that there's still time available for you to accomplish your goals, you need a plan to do that. What can you deal with as far as "suffering for your art?" Yeah, suffering for your art. Heh. What a cliché! But, on the other hand, maybe not. Look at the offspring of the wildly successful. Many times they are stunted in the creative department. To toss it back to the Kennedy family, our poor JFK jr. had all sorts of problems finding his place in life, and many would say that he never did, not really. He had every possible advantage, and yet, he kinda didn't know what he was doing.

And this is why knowing what you want and knowing how to get to that place is the most important thing. Even with the world looking after you, even with great looks and great friends and a world of support and a bank vault filled with funds, it might all go badly if you don't have a handle on what you really want to do and know how to get to the place where you can do it.

But my point here is that "suffering" is a part of the process, a part that many kids of successful parents might not have, and that might not cause them to learn about themselves, learn about adversity, learn about what it takes to make it on your own, learn about their own inner flame and how brightly it can burn when it's on its own.

Step Two: Once you figure out Step One, do it.

This is the problem that many people face. We are creatures of habit. We don't like change. So, even in cases where we know a change is coming and that change is good, we resist. This could be the biggest stumbling block in our path: ourselves. Are you ready to become what you want? And what will you do once the dream comes true? Live happily ever after? Or just croak because there's nothing left on your plate?

This is where it becomes an emotional battle for your soul, this dreaming business. You've made that long trip to The Emerald City, you've gotten in to see The Great And Powerful Oz, you've been given your instructions on what you need to do and you're about to, when... what? You decided to clean your room instead. Or do that sudoku puzzle. Or the laundry. Or something, anything, everything else!

That element of fear is the illusion that is keeping us from accomplishing all of the things we want to do. Plow through it.

Step Three: Assess and continue.

Once you break through the brick wall, bust the glass ceiling and achieve the rousing success you so richly deserve, it's time to take a beat and see where you are and decide where you want to go next. Sometimes it's good to consider this as a carrot for you to get to this step, which is why it's important to know that this is on the way. When you get to that level, you need to know that there are more options, more things to do and potentially bigger and better challenges for you to face. It can help you overcome the fear of "finishing."

I think I'm finished... for now.

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Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
bronxelf_ag001
Apr. 23rd, 2006 04:42 pm (UTC)
*fwee*
Well, let me tell you, fame costs. And right here is where you'll start paying. In sweat! Yeah... that show about that school for the arts.


20 yard penalty for Fame references.


ever so sincerely yours,

One of Those Graduates.
penpusher
Apr. 23rd, 2006 05:49 pm (UTC)
Re: *fwee*
Aha. You and chippiex are alums then. Maybe you even know each other??
bronxelf_ag001
Apr. 23rd, 2006 05:50 pm (UTC)
Re: *fwee*
Anything is possible...
chippiex
Apr. 27th, 2006 05:29 pm (UTC)
Re: *fwee*
I'm from the m&a side-'86 grad

d-nice post, what is bff? I liked the specifics of goal making pt you made

cheers, chip
penpusher
Apr. 27th, 2006 06:16 pm (UTC)
Re: *fwee*
Aha, Ms Chip... BFF = Best Friends Forever! But since you didn't link to the Bronxelf's post, I'll link you to her website...

http://www.werenotafraid.com/dynamic/?page_id=101 She's the one on the subway.
laughingacademy
Apr. 23rd, 2006 07:41 pm (UTC)
Believe it or not, people can dream without being specific enough! Wanting to play in a band is a nice dream. But not nearly specific. I mean, do you want Fleetwood Mac or the USC Trojan Marching Band? I guess if you're playing "Tusk," it doesn't matter.

May I please post the above passage to metaquotes?
penpusher
Apr. 23rd, 2006 07:46 pm (UTC)
I'd be honored.
sugarplumkitty
Apr. 23rd, 2006 09:04 pm (UTC)
"Later, the US Manned Space Program gave up on the US. No trips to Mars. No more flights to the moon. Just a really fancy craft to circle our globe, which was already being circled by a lot of stuff. And the one time they let a "regular person" fly in it, the thing blew up. So, yeah. No outer space for me."

Ah, but the moon is back on the table to be followed by Mars. They're doing tests right now at NASA/Ames in preparation for ordinary people to travel into space in about 10 years. You don't have to give up that dream. I do, because I have asthma. People with asthma wouldn't survive launch.

I'd say to never give up on your dreams. Sure, you may have to modify them somewhat but there's bound to be an area you dream will fit that is attainable for you. I'll never be Shirley Temple on screen, but I could be a character like hers in voice-over.

I wanted to be an astronaut at one point myself. I'm an intern at NASA! Sure, I'm just fixing and installing computers for the health environment and safety groups, but the safety group also includes Mission Assurance. I shook the hands of two different astronauts and heard a couple more of them speak about their experiences.

I wanted to be a mom. Despite not having kids, I've been able to parent a few of them peripherally in more enriching ways than actual parents can manage to do with everything else they've got to deal with.

So, maybe the total original dream is out of the question but a variation can usually be found and can be fulfilling.
penpusher
Apr. 24th, 2006 04:03 am (UTC)
One Small Step...
Yes, I hear that a lot of various space projects are in the works. Whether they actually will happen is a question left for us to ponder at this point, since a lot of our expendable capital that might have gone to space exploration is being used in another, different far-off place, right here on earth. But, my desires to go to outer-space have been successfully quashed. As much as I admire the program and what they do, I'm not in the same mindset to leave the planet as I was before.

I don't know. I think sometimes dreams can get in the way. Sometimes it makes sense to give up your dreams, if they're preventing you from having a real life. It really is a matter of knowing what the dream is doing. I'm not against dreams or suggesting that people should just quit their hopes and wishes. Just a matter of knowing the difference between something that works and something that doesn't. As you say, you can "change" your dream. Modify it. That would qualify, I think, with what I'm suggesting.

Knowing when to vary the dream and change it to fit your life is an important part of what I'm talking about, so that works for me.
kamiandrews
Apr. 24th, 2006 12:29 am (UTC)
Ive found giving up young saves anxiety, think of all those people on American Idol that look like Idiots because no one had the heart to tell them it was pointless.
penpusher
Apr. 24th, 2006 04:06 am (UTC)
Kami! Ever the optimist!

Ah, but see? Those American Idols just want to become famous! They don't care about their complete lack of talent. It's just a chance to meet someone famous, get some videotape that proved they were on television and that they told off someone for telling them they had no talent!

What will the kids say when they eventually see these scenes from a reality show gone wrong? Or will these "singers" want to get them into the competition too? Stay tuned...
kamiandrews
Apr. 24th, 2006 04:23 am (UTC)
well often when the parents dreams fail they push em on a generation thats why they have child beauty pagents.

but sometimes a dose or realism helps some people wake up
penpusher
Apr. 24th, 2006 04:33 am (UTC)
You're absolutely right. But I think there are some that just wouldn't get realism it it hit them in the nose at 20 mph with a 2x4!

But this world is full of surprises... maybe there's some hope out there!
kamiandrews
Apr. 24th, 2006 05:27 am (UTC)
you are on a path to dissapointment
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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