As a person planning on having a career in musical theatre, I've encountered my fair share of interrogations. "How are you going to do that? You know there's no money in that, right? Why don't you choose something more practical?" At first, these kinds of questions and comments really got to me. I even used to get second thoughts because of how often someone would judge me for my choice. I luckily developed a thick skin over time after realizing that following a dream is much more important and valuable that doing something that others find more secure.
I have known since I was seven years old that I wanted to perform for the rest of my life. I have a passion for theatre and music. Being on stage is where I feel most fulfilled. Even so, a majority of people don't agree that those things are enough of a reason to pursue a career in it. I don't know how many times people have told me I'll be a "starving actor" as if that's encouraging in the slightest. After a few years, I found out that whenever I began to second guess myself, it was useful for me to think of my biggest fear. It may seem odd since thinking of something that scares you usually brings some kind of discomfort rather than motivation, but my biggest fear is regret. More than failure, more than dying, and more than loss, I fear the feeling of regret. I imagine myself thirty years from now looking back on my life. Finding myself saying, "I wish I would have done that", and literally not being able to turn back time sounds like absolute hell to me. If you fail, you can try again. If you lose someone, you can grieve and surround yourself with people who love you, but if you don't try something you've always wanted to do, you can never go back and do it again. It is impossible to turn back the clock.
I could have a well paying nine to five job that I somewhat despise. I could go the rest of my life sitting behind a desk and wishing for some spark of passion to return to my life, but I would much rather take a risk with hopes of succeeding. I would much rather go the rest of my life doing the one thing I love doing more than anything else in the whole world. Money can buy a lot of things but it can't give you the satisfaction of accomplishing your life long dream.
I encourage everyone to dream as big as they want and follow it. If your dream is to sit behind a desk all day, so be it! I won't judge you for that. Just because it isn't my cup of tea doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. However, if you're choosing to do so because your real dream isn't "good enough" in other people's eyes, then I hope you're ready to be very disappointed later in life. Be brave. For those of you who knock people down for being fearless enough to follow their passion, just remember that they have more courage than you will ever understand. It takes strength to listen to your heart. Think twice before you discourage someone from reaching for their goals, no matter how implausible they may seem. They just might find the happiness that you wish you could experience.For all I know, I could completely fail. I may never be cast in anything ever again once I graduate and enter the big scary world, but at least I can say I tried it. I would rather try and fail than not try at all and wonder to myself, "what if?" What a powerful question: "what if?" Ask yourself "what if" now so that you can begin to chase those dreams because if you ask yourself the same question decades down the road, the connotation will be much more despondent. Promise yourself you'll run from regret, and run toward your true aspirations. I guarantee...you won't regret it.