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Dreams thankfully deferred

Posted: October 21, 2014 3:40 p.m.
Updated: October 22, 2014 1:00 a.m.

Growing up, I had a hand full of career goals. My parents signed me up for basketball in 3rd grade, which put the idea of playing for the WNBA in my head.

 In third and fourth grades, I was the best player on my basketball team and I had a pretty big ego because of it. I just knew that I was going to make it to the pros one day.

My dream of playing pro ball began to disintegrate in 5th grade when I began playing on the team at my new elementary school. A few players on the team played better -- which was a real blow to my ego.

I played basketball through 6th grade and then gave it up, but I picked up a new career interest that same year.

Death was something that I had been curious about since the 3rd grade, but I had a slight fear of caskets.

Despite my fear of caskets, I decided that a funeral director was the career for me. One thing that drove my interest in the funeral business was the idea of doing something different from the rest of my peers. Another driving factor was my strong stomach and nerves of steel … so I thought.

I eventually realized that the idea of working with the deceased was the most fascinating part about the job to me, and I realized that was not enough to be a good mortician.

In 9th grade, I decided that I was going to be a psychologist. This career goal arose after realizing my superb abilities to listen and give advice. My desire to become a psychologist went away after I discovered what a major responsibility the job would be, so I decided to forget about that career option.

My last career ambition before college arrived shortly before finishing high school. I decided that I was going to pursue a screenwriting career. I was sure that this was going to be it for me.

Screenwriting seemed like a good fit because I liked to write; I loved movies and television as well as fictional novels; and I had a pretty wild imagination. This dream began to crumble when funding for the art school that I was going to attend was decreased.

Being out of high school a few months after graduating gave me a little time to think about my future. I realized screenwriting was not the most practical career choice, so I ended up being thankful that I was discouraged from pursuing that dream.

As a young ambitious person who was always told if I could dream something I could be it, I had the idea that I would go to Hollywood immediately after graduating college, pitch my script and become a super successful writer like Shonda Rhimes (creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal). Yeah, right.

Hope is not enough to make something happen. I would have been one of those Hollywood hopefuls waiting tables at some restaurant and sprucing up my soon-to-be a hit screenplay in some coffee shop in my spare time as I waited for my big break. After so much time went by without any recognition, I would have been putting on a façade of hope in my own mind to keep myself from breaking down after realizing that my dream was nothing more than a fantasy never to come true. How disappointed I would have been to know that I wasted my time, money and education on something that got me nowhere.

Spending two years at a two-year college where I focused on my general education classes gave me plenty of time to think about what I seriously wanted to do with my life.

My desire to write did not fade with my screenwriting dream. I was led to pursue something that would incorporate all styles of writing and qualify me for different writing jobs.

A friend of mine once argued with me about caving under the fear of failing and settling for something more feasible. That friend also asked me where my hope was. I didn’t (and still don’t) view it as settling. I actually realized in my junior year of college (while pursuing the major that I was extremely satisfied with and thankful that I chose) that trying to make a living off of television and movie scripts would have been farfetched for me in particular anyway. As much as I loved concocting stories, writing them and finding people with Hollywood connections who would be interested in them would have been an entirely different struggle.

No, I am not in a career where I can write fictional stories; journalism requires factual writing, not fabrications. However, I am still writing and my writing is published weekly. Scripts would have remained in the documents folder on my laptop for who knows how long. Thousands of words would have gone unpublished and hours of time unrecognized.

I did not cave or take an easy way out -- I found a more realistic way to incorporate my passion into my everyday life and career goals.

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