Do you remember being a kid? Times were uncomplicated and straightforward. Stray thoughts would drift through your mind like a refreshing summer breeze. These thoughts consisted of friendship, young love, and spectacular dreams for "when you were old enough to chase them". That actually meant when you could drive. Yet, now when you look back on those dreams, you label them as “irrational” or “unrealistic”. What happened?
As children, we were told we could do anything. We were encouraged to chase those dreams even if they seemed farfetched. Yes, you could go to the moon. Yes, you could sing to crowds of thousands. Yes, you could be the president. Then you make it into high school, and adults start asking you, "What are you going to do once you get out of school?" and the response of, "I want to be a musician." earns you nervous laughter and awkward glances. Their eyes tell you everything that they never will, "You won't make it kid. Be more rational." That single glance is enough to start making you question your goals.
Teachers start mentioning "fantastic" jobs such as accounting, the medical field, or big business. I'm not implying that these jobs aren't good, but I am suggesting that there are people out there that have given up on their dreams to get them. Some people love these things, and honestly, I'm a guy that really does enjoy business. Mainly being a part of the startup process. I find satisfaction in the learning curve and completion of a task that at first brought me stress.
But I also have a craving for writing. I can't think of anything quite as satisfying as designing a realm that can be placed permanently on a blank sheet of paper. A creation that brings delight, terror, and suspense to its readers. Nothing parallels the feeling of completing the final sentence to your masterpiece, but as time slipped by, I've faced the hard reality that even though my story is my masterpiece, it may not be the publishers. What I'm trying to say is I have received several rejection letters. These rejections have forced me to look dead in the horrific creature we call failure. It's a daunting beast.
Failure has made me ask the question, "Am I really able to make this a reality?" And you know what I've decided? Yes, I am capable. I am not saying the rejections didn't sting. It destroyed me, but then I remembered something significant I'd learned years before. Some of the greats had failed many times, and some, such as Edgar Allen Poe and Van Gogh, were recognized after their deaths. These men never gave up, and the reason behind this was because they found joy in their craft. It hurt to have their work thrown back in their face, but they did what they loved regardless. They kept writing/painting because it was their passion.
I hate seeing people give up on their dreams to pursue something they find no purpose in. Each person has a place, and they are perfect in that field. Most of the time that area involves those "unrealistic" dreams we had as kids. I understand that growing up means we start rationalizing, but I genuinely believe that streamlining your aspirations shouldn't happen. Go insane over them until they become true. Picking the safe route and becoming a doctor may include a nice paycheck, but it doesn't mean you will feel the same joy you feel when you capture a timeless moment with your camera, or when you are singing your own song to a captive audience.
I took the photo you see. It reminds me of the light breaking through the darkness. You are that light, and life can be the darkness. It tells you that you can't make your dreams come true, but that's not true. Don't allow anything to block your light. Fight for what you love at all times. Never give up, and sharpen your craft like you would a blade. Until it is so sharp it could pierce anything. You are capable of being the best, and yes, you could get paid for that very thing. Be crazy and enjoy the time you have to perfect yourself. It may take time, and you may be rejected, but in the end, you will find peace knowing you did what you loved. You can spend your life making millions, but if you don't do what you are passionate about then what is the point? You're living for someone else's dream.
You have one life. Don't waste it. Travel the world. Be the best photographer. Write until you fall asleep on your computer. Teach with your heart behind every word. Sing with your emotions. Run until your legs can't carry you. Dream until you can't dream anymore.