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How To Make Your Childhood Dreams An Adult Reality

Childhood Dreams
By Austin Christensen

What do you want to be when you grow up? This is a question that we get asked a lot as children. At a young age, you can give almost any answer and find yourself encouraged. We are told to aim for the stars, follow our dreams, and any other cliché “anything is possible” answer you could think of. However, this game changes once we grow up. Our choices and goals are subject to intense scrutiny and holding onto a childhood dream may not be viewed in quite the same way. That is exactly where my problem lies. At the age of twenty-three, my childhood dream is still my real life aspiration.

Have you ever dreamed of a life on the stage?

A life where you perform a play or musical eight times a week in the greatest city in the world. Maybe you’ve dreamed of seeing yourself on the big screen travelling the world far and wide to appear in movies that would inevitably land you a trip to the Oscars one day. The kind of career that leads to a life of rubbing elbows with the rich and famous in your hometown of Los Angeles. Well, trust me, you are not alone.

Acting is the only thing I have ever wanted to do.

I stepped onstage for a children’s theatre production when I was in third grade and was immediately hooked. It was then that my life began revolving around when I would do a show next, immersing myself in the current theatre culture, and experiencing productions both on Broadway and otherwise whenever I could.

Don’t get me wrong, I had other interests.

Throughout my life, I found a variety of hobbies and there were plenty of activities that brought me considerable joy. But when it came to my profession and something that I would be spending the rest of my life doing, there was nothing that I could think of that would make me truly happy.

Some find it easier than others to move on from what they call their childhood dreams. As they grow up, they find interests behind the scenes or on the administration end of theatre that they can then convert into an internship, potentially leading to an actual career. For them, that’s more than okay. They have incorporated a passion of theirs into their career, that’s something truly wonderful and admirable.

However, I have found the transition to be slightly more difficult than most. Through the research of internships, job searches, and the countless hours that I have devoted to thinking of how to combine my dreams and so-called realistic approach to a career, I have never been able to shake the idea that there is only one real option for me. In spite of the fact that almost everyone in my life has told me that what I am trying to accomplish is overwhelmingly difficult, there is that insatiable thirst to perform, create, and entertain that cannot be matched by any other profession.

There’s something that I have learned through my continuous hours of obsessive stress and doubt.

There’s a lesson that I have found through my fixation on the implausibility of my career goals. It’s okay. Let me repeat that and expand upon it. It’s okay to continue to hope and dream and shoot for that career you have wanted since you were eight.

People are right however, when they say it will not be easy. In addition to the daunting task of breaking into this industry, there will, inevitably, be people who will turn their noses up at you when you tell them you want to be an actor.

There will be those that laugh behind your back, tell you the odds are enormously stacked against you, and try to convince you that a safe option is the only option. For some, that works.

But there is something much worse than all of that.

For me, going through the rest of my life wondering what would have happened if I had really given my dreams a shot is far worse than any scrutiny I could face from those around me. No one wants to find themselves halfway through their lives, realizing they are doing something they do not enjoy and that they were too scared or self-conscious to try for what they really wanted. I would say there are a lot of people who would be living very different lives if they had not backed out of those childhood dreams that others scoffed at.

There is a certain magic to theatre that is undeniable.

That is, undoubtedly, why people continue to flock to shows on Broadway and why they persist in an industry that seems unwelcome and impossible. Those shooting for their dreams should be proud and unashamed. In a way, it takes more strength to do this than any alternative.

For those of you out there starting to lose hope, don’t.

Do not waste a single minute thinking that you made a huge mistake in not taking that safe job with the stable salary, fixed work schedule, or the benefits. Take pride in knowing that you are travelling a difficult road and believe that you are strong enough to do it. If there is one thing I am sure of, this is a dream worth fighting for.

I will continue to work my butt off while attending any open call that I can. I will continue to save up money and plan to move to the city where a commute will seem just a tad less daunting. Most importantly, I will continue to dream undeterred by those around me scoffing at my choices or telling me that I will never make it. After all, there may not be another career as difficult to obtain, but I doubt you would ever be able to find one as rewarding.

 

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