It’s not your job to live someone else’s dream.
Last weekend I turned 23. For some reason, this particular birthday felt different than any other birthday. I think that it’s possibly because it’s the first birthday that I feel like a “real” adult. Last weekend instead of hanging out with a bunch of friends and getting plastered, I spent time with my family and my boyfriend. We had all had a nice dinner together. We shared steak and wine and laughs. It makes me feel old to say, but I would not have this any other way. How the HELL did I get here?
I was reading articles last week about advice for those turning 23. One of the pieces of advice almost brought me to tears: It’s not your job to live someone else’s dream. I’ve written a lot recently about my disenchantment with my career path. I cannot shake the feeling that office life is not the path I was intended to take long-term.
Recently, I was faced with a dilemma. There is a position open in my office that I am qualified for and that pays more than what I make. It’s a good opportunity for my professional growth, but not in the direction I feel I am being pulled. There is also another potential opportunity for me to move cities, possibly by the end of this year. I currently still work in the city that I went to college in, and I am ready to leave. This opportunity to move, though, is not for certain.
I am scared. I feel in my heart that moving is the right option for me, but applying for the job in my office felt like the smarter option. I’ve felt that moving is the right choice to make for almost a year now, but I haven’t made any progress toward this goal. I’ve said that there were always things that held me back, but in actuality think there is a part of me that fears the change. I’ve lived in this town for over 5 years now. I remember when 5 years felt like a long time, but I feel like it has blown right past me.
I have decided to choose the riskier option. The advice I received from that article has further solidified that this might be the right choice for me. Applying for the open position in my office puts me on a career path that leads to a dream that is not mine. I know what my dream is. I need to make the choices that put me on that path, not the path that anyone else thinks I should take.
There are, of course, some boring adult reasons for moving to a bigger city. For example, there’s an opportunity to make more money, better housing, and more opportunity for professional growth. These are the reasons I will tell work acquaintances and family members who don’t read my blog (no shade). Realistically, making more money is a part of achieving my dream, because it would give me the financial freedom to invest in these dreams. This is not my primary motivator, though.
Then the real question is why does moving really point me in the direction of my achieving dreams. The biggest motivation in this is the change of scenery that I feel I desperately need. In the city I currently am in, I feel trapped. I am not artistically stimulated, and I almost feel like I am still in this limbo between college and the real world. I feel a strong need to separate myself from what is comfortable so that I can grow as a person and as a creator.
The other motivator is one that I honestly feel silly putting into words. Our guitarist lives in the same town Brice and I are trying to move to. Being closer to him will allow us to grow musically together. I feel like I will be judged for listing this as a reason for uprooting my current life, but the band is also a part of my dream. Writing is the passion of my soul, but Music is the passion of my heart. I can’t escape my desire to pursue music, even if I tried. I love making and writing music with this band, and I can’t wait for us to improve our skills together.
This move really boils down to opportunities to grow as a person, as a professional, as a writer, as a musician, as a dreamer, and much more. What I need to work on is being honest with myself about where I am at. I am not the kind of person to be comfortable with complacency. Because of that, I am constantly pushing myself to work towards my growth and goals, often to my own detriment. In order to understand where I am in the present moment and remember the reason behind my goals, I have to take time to breathe and actually sit with who the person I am right now is. That was what this weekend was for me. Taking time away really clarified how I was feeling. I am now one step closer to pursuing my dreams, and no one else’s.