Dreaming a dream and trying to live it

I think at times one of the hardest things I struggle with as an adult is realizing that sometimes our dreams and our reality simply don’t match up. I envy people who are able to live the life of their dreams but I have always accepted that my path has been a tad different. When you have a child at 19 which while legally an adult is still pretty young, it means you quickly give up dreamland and start to live in that place where only reality pays the bills and keeps you and your child fed and clothed.

Even when I moved out of survival mode and went back to school, I relied on logic as a form of course correction and chose a career path that was a combination of practicality and what I was good at and wouldn’t drive me mad. All the while ignoring what I really wanted to do because well, I had started to grow rather fond of eating, staying clothed and keeping a roof over my head. So despite knowing that I felt little passion for my path, I made the conscious choice to be the best that I could be.

I have a confession; I am tired of not really living my dream. Oh, I have been flitting around talking about making career changes but to be honest they were rooted once again in practicality. Taking skill sets I am good at, that mesh well with my background but passion? Love? Nope. Not even there, the truth is I love life coaches, I have worked with some amazing ones, but I really don’t feel it in my bones. I know this deep in my soul and frankly I am tired of doing what I am good at because I fear failure.

I have known what I loved for over a decade but it’s so impractical, I laugh at myself. Back when I was an undergrad, I took a storytelling class and fell in love. Stories are fun, historical and often reveal deep truths about life; I love storytellers in all shapes and sizes. But the storyteller who most inspires me is the late Studs Terkel. Growing up in Chicago and listening to public radio, it was impossible not to know who Studs was; later having read several of his books including my beloved Working, I knew I wanted to be like Studs. Funny thing is there really is no way to be like Studs because there can only be one Studs.

Several years ago, I started kicking the idea around of how does one gain the skills to tell stories in this modern world, that was when I figured I would start this blog and well tell my own stories about my own life. I also found this fabulous program that is conveniently located in my own state, mere minutes from me. However after amassing over $100,000 in student loan debts for a BA I feel was worth every dime and a Masters degree I wish I could give back, the reality is I can’t afford to go back to school. Especially a program where I would have to pay out of pocket, after all as we all know my pockets are currently on empty. I have toyed with the idea of getting an MFA in writing but the truth is I am not sure I am really a writer; I like to tell stories which in many ways is different that simply being a writer though they can also be one and the same depending on the person.

So today in an act of silliness I am putting it out in the universe that I really want to go to Salt Institute, my credit is hosed so I can’t take out any loans to make it happen, but damn it I really want this. Life is short and while being practical has served me well in recent years; it is time to dream a little. If nothing else I find when I set my mind to something, it often happens, so I am putting this out and maybe just maybe the universe will help me make this happen.

I look at my kids and tell them to follow their dreams, but maybe I need to lead by example.

4 thoughts on “Dreaming a dream and trying to live it

  1. Salt Institute seems like it has awesome programs. Did you notice that they have a $5000 tuition competition?

    I think that if one writes then they can call themself a writer. After that they can place whatever qualifiers they want in front of the word, “writer”. In the same vein, if one tells stories, then they can call themself a storyteller.

    While I think going to school can be a convenient way to learn the skills you want, I don’t think it’s the only way. The nice thing about living in this century is that the internet has opened up so many avenues of information. If you have access to the internet you have a means of doing some self-study. Of course, you also need the time to do that on your own.

    However you get to your goal, I’ll be rooting for you. I happen to think you’ve already started with this blog as your storytelling medium.

  2. Salt Institute looks like a great place, but I wonder if you need it. It may be helpful and encouraging, but from where I’m standing (sitting) it appears you already have all the tools you need. Half the battle in any arts pursuit is having the self motivation to work at it regularly, which you clearly do. Your stories and comments are interesting, real and relatable. You are already a storyteller.

  3. You are a story teller already.

    I think the first post on this site that I ever read was one in which you recounted the difficulty you had finding the proper hair products in Maine. On the surface, that is such a surface complaint. However, even to this very, very (VERY) white girl, you conveyed something that had absolutely nothing to do with your hair.

    And *that* is what a story teller does. They tell a story that tells a much larger story.

    (Naturally, I say this as someone with very similar dreams to yours. I say you already are what you aspire to be, but I know that I have heard the same words and not found satisfaction in them. Follow your dreams.)

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