I seem to have temporarily misplaced them.
At the cast party tonight, I had a chance to talk with the performers about things other than the show. Most of them are in their early 20’s, and in college.
Most striking was the clarity with which they could articulate their dreams. Their lives awaiting, they are just starting out. Many of them expect to be working on stage, film or television – not stardom, necessarily, but expect to make a living in the performing arts.
Others? A life of meaning as a counselor, guiding lost souls. A beautiful young woman majoring in chemical engineering in order to develop “green” technologies – looking forward to a lifetime hobby in theater (hmmm…..). Another is a youth theater program director – aspiring to grow the program through grants to do more community outreach for troubled youth.
There is nothing they aren’t willing to tackle. No doors are closed. Just like the tribe members they portray in the show, they expect to change the world. Granted, many of them are comfortable taking a meandering path to get there, and are in no hurry to move out of their parents homes. That’s the Generation Y thing….
Got me thinking…
When did I let go of my dreams? I had to think hard to even remember what they were! As a child, I wanted to be an astronaut, an explorer, a detective, an archeologist. I wanted to take care of broken people, cure cancer and end all wars and violence.
I believed i could.
In high school, i wanted to embrace the role of political activist, fighting for justice, arguing limitations and derailing stupid and careless governmental intervention. Become a citizen scientist and work for the good of mankind…
I was certain i would.
Somewhere along the way to today, I misplaced these dreams. I was busy building the foundation of my career, working for “the man”, raising my children, maintaining a home. Along the way, I did community service – from room mother at school to board member of the local Planned Parenthoof affiliate. But it was always secondary to to my primary roles in life.
To maintain a sense of “self” i indulged my hobbies – theater, doing the occasional coffeehouse gig with the guitar, farting around with my old jeep…… But it was never my dream to perform. Certainly not my dream to spend my life covered in automotive body fluids.
It was to serve…. It was to make things better, right wrongs and save the world.
I’m 45, single and starting over, eligible to retire in just 5 years -when both critters will be done with undergraduate endeavors and will be financially independent.* Perhaps I have a chance to blow the dust off a dream or two?
But what to tackle? Which worthy challenge to choose? Local, national, global? Where do i start? Could i possibly do anything that would make a difference? Am i willing to start from the dirt floor and claw my way forward until lasting changes take hold? Work independently or join a group? Do i have the knowledge, skills, network, resources… the energy? Am i too cynical, crusty and burnt out? Am i sufficiently patient and tenacious?
Not tonight, that’s for sure. i need some sleep. Perchance to dream….
*No, really kids. That’s how it’s supposed to work…