This weekend I heard a middle school choral director speak about supporting kids’ creative passions.
He said, kids often don’t continue with music (or art, photography, writing, etc) because somewhere along the way they are told it’s not sensible, that it’s not a “clear and trusted” practical career path.
But, he asked, what if a career in the arts is your bliss?
Photo credit: Mallari Sizemore
Dreams are important. When I was a teenager, I concocted big ideas for my future. One involved me owning horses, a show barn, and 537 acres of land, not because I loved horses, but because apparently riding horses with “your hair whipping away from your face” primes the creative pump. Either way, you get the gist, writing was pretty important to me.
My diary dreams.
But, now that I’m a parent of kids sitting (precariously) close to the edge of our family nest, I admit the dreamy thing makes me cringe a bit. There’s an element of fear.
Fear is the thing that can derail a dream.
And fear can send a parent into the You Need to be Practical speech (you want your kids to be happy, but you also don’t necessarily want them living in your basement at thirty.)
Except I also know that it’s not my job to define their happy. So, so hard to remember after years of telling them when to sleep, eat, and blow their noses.
This whole following your bliss thing can be complicated. Do you take the risk, or stick to the more sensible pursuit? There’s a character in my YA contemporary, Come Back to Me, named Evan Foster, and Evan believes without question that you should go “balls to the wall” when it comes to your dreams. Now, balls to the wall is an old aviation term that refers to pushing the ball-shaped grip on the throttle all the way forward, i.e. full speed.
Full speed, like with your hair whipping in the wind and all that.
I don’t think there’s one answer, or one way to follow your bliss. Sometimes you are not exactly sure of your dream, sometimes all you have is a wispy idea.
Write those wispy ideas down. Listen to your heart. Talk to people who do what you want to do. Take classes. Keep learning. Continue moving forward.
If it’s your passion, find a way to keep creating.
Me? I got a degree in criminal justice, worked in a library (and a whole slew of other odd jobs, like delivering phone books), got married, became a mom (best job ever), worked some more odd jobs (selling makeup, crafts, and gutters—but not all at the same time), and now I’m writing again.
No, it wasn’t a straight path, and nothing about it felt particularly “clear and trusted.” But still I’m where I wanted to be.
And I’m picking up some momentum . . . I think there may even be a little hair whipping happening.
What do you think about following your bliss? Do you think you can balance the sensible and your dream? What’s the oddest job you’ve ever had?
Oh and I hope you stop by on Valentine’s day–I will be participating in the Indie-Kissing Blog Fest hosted by the INDELIBLES.