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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Looking At Our Futures


Today is the tomorrow we worried about yesterday. ~Author Unknown




my career plans

        I don't guess I ever really worried that much about my future when I was young, but I did think about it.  I dreamed, pondered, and planned.   When I was in junior high, Mr. Dinsmore, my social studies teacher gave us an assigned project to research our five top career choices.  Each student was required to prepare a report of the requirements and preparation necessary to achieve our careers, expected financial outcomes, job descriptions, and any other relevant facts related to our career choices.

         My choices, in order of most preferred to least, were professional entertainer, musician, writer, photographer, and teacher.  By my senior year of high school, though these choices were still part of my dreams, I decided to attend university and major in psychology with the intent of being a psychologist of some sort.  After the first year I switched my major to English and started leaning toward a teaching career. I also began writing, submitting, and getting rejections.  It seemed I was on my way to becoming a professional student.

The Real World of Work

          Eventually as best laid plans will often go, I dropped out of school as I was nearing graduation.  As fate would have it, or dreams would materialize, I began working with a touring show as a performer.  Though I had grown up working in professional entertainment with my family, I was now working on my own as a paid performer. Future dream number one accomplished.

           After a couple years I was married and got off the road to await the birth of our first child, settling temporarily in Richmond, Virginia.  While there, I was hooked up with a dinner theater where the show director discovered I played violin, which was exactly what they were trying to find for an upcoming show.  I had to join the musicians union and I began playing nightly in a musical called "The Robber Bridegroom".   Dream number two had been attained.

            For the next decade I continued as a performer and manager of a touring theatrical company called "World of Fantasy Players".   I was living my dreams in the most wonderful way.  Then I spent another nearly twenty years as a manager of a distribution company, which turned out to be a near perfect job for raising my daughters and being able to play an active role in their lives.

            Currently I'm at least writing, but yet to have anything truly notable published.  I am immersed in writing again like I had been in college.  So I am working on that dream now.  I also take pictures now and then to put on my blog posts--okay maybe that's a stretch, but it wasn't my biggest dream.  I did a stint of substitute teaching years ago in Tennessee.  I at least had a taste and who knows what the future holds on that one.

             If there is any point to any of this I guess it's that dreams of childhood can often become realities if we keep thinking about them.  I guess I'd go as far to say they will become realities to some extent if we maintain focus.  I still dream about my future even though I'm heading towards sixty.  Why not? The future keeps coming and I'm not going to stop it.  Might as well plan for tomorrow as long as I'm thinking about it.

What's Your Plan?

           Are you doing anything like what you dreamed about when you were a kid?  What changed after you graduated from high school?   Or if you're still in school, what are you doing to get ready for your future?  Do you plan your life much or do you just basically take each day as it comes?   What are the dreams that you once had that you don't think you'll ever fulfill?   Do you tend to worry about your future?

25 comments:

  1. That's pretty awesome that you've managed to achieve your dreams, and they all seemed to flow into one another too.

    For as long I can remember I've wanted to be an archaeologist/Egyptologist. Thankfully (and despite protests from teachers and bemused looks from family and friends) I'm well on my way to achieving that. I've completed by Bachelor's Degree and I'm 4 weeks away from finishing my Master's. I spend a month out in Egypt on an excavation with the invitation to return next year, and I'm due to give 2 lectures at the end of the year. Plus (with some luck) I'll be enrolled on a PhD shcolarhsip at the end of 2011. I'm pretty damn lucky and pretty damn thankful that I've managed to stay the course so far :D

    Other aspirations that I had as a kid were writing and working in film. These are but sub-dreams, and I do both as a hobby (albeit in a very amateurish way) so they don't become stale.

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  2. I used to pretty much take each day as it comes, but now I do so with a bit more focus on getting my writing out there. It's a definite dream I am making become reality one day, one step, at a time.

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  3. Wow, what a life :)

    My plans? To go forth! Really, I just want to keep moving forward. I am excited to see where that will take me and my writing.

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  4. Phew... that's a deep reflection. I find it very interesting because I think I am a dreamer... and I am glad! Glad because, of course with a lot of effort, I have accomplished more than I expected as a child. I still dream about things that would bring more happiness into my life. For instance, writing short stories was a pipe dream for years. Until I came across a now blogger friend who encouraged me to start writing. And my journey started a few months ago. Long way to go, but definitely a joyful ride!
    Great post, Lee.

    Doris

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  5. Hi Arlee,
    All I ever dreamed of when I was younger was being a wife and mother. That dream has been fulfilled. My other dream was to become a nurse. Unfortunately due to physical issues, that dream will never be fulfilled. Sorry that I haven't been by, we had a crazy squirrel that ate through our cable wire!!!
    Love Di ♥

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  6. Ah, I also have an MA in English and Psychology :)

    What did you perform as, Lee? A violinist all the time, or something else as well?

    It seems you've had a rich and diverse life full of valuable experiences and you should be proud of that!

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  7. I'm not a worrier, but my husband is. I'm a planner, though, and he isn't. When I think about those two aspects of our personalities, I think it's weird we were even attracted to each other. I've always had stories in my mind, but it took me a while to figure out I was supposed to write about them. Duh. Call me slow.

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  8. I wanted to sing and dance on Broadyway when I was a kid. Used to come home from school and perform in my living room. Now I'm doing a version of that at retirement communities with three other singers. We choreograph songs, so that counts as dancing, right? I also wanted to write, which I am doing. Happy your dreams came true and are still doing so, Lee.
    Karen

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  9. I'm still dreaming. Good luck with the writing. Great you were able to realise your dream to be a performer. Someday i shall be a published author ;O)

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  10. I am not doing what I dreamed as a kid. My "dreams" were to record on Capitol Records, join the Grand Ole Opry, and eventually die and go to hillbilly heaven.

    I do have one song I co-wrote recorded on an CD published by UAR. I have one being recorded by the end of the year by the same company. But although Capitol records are no longer the "cadillac" of the industry I never made it.

    Though I have visited the Grand Ole Opry in the Ryman Hall I haven't never been asked to join.

    As far as Hillbilly heaven I don't mind waiting a little longer to join it.

    I didn't graduate high school. I decided to join the Marines at 17, married at 18, had a baby at 19 and needed to work to support an eventual family of 6.

    I don't worry about the future. I know whom I have believed in and that he is able to keep what I have committed unto Him against that day.

    I don't know when I will find a job, if we will loose our home, or what tomorrow will bring; but I believe Phillippians 4:4-8 and Matthew 6:33 is still valid today.

    I am glad the Lord changed by plans or dreams as a kid. Success, recognition, money, records are not much value to lives addicted to drugs or alcohol, broken homes, and being rode hard and put away wet. (I know that doesn't happen to all entertainers)

    The only dreams that I kinda would like to have fulfilled by I die was to meet George Jones and have him sing one of the songs I wrote. But I will live. I did co-write a song for him called Haggard and Jones and it is on a CD called Country Nights, UAR Productions.

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  11. Jamie --- Does your mummy know about your plans? Sorry, but I couldn't resist a bad joke.
    You sound like you are very focused on your dream. Archeology is just as vital as any science. Connecting the past with the present gives us a greater understanding about where we might be going in the future. With your drive and ambition, I think we will be hearing from you in your writing and film endeavors in the future.

    Jeffrey -- One step at a time is the most assured path to take.

    Tabitha -- And I say, "Onward!" Even the most successful historian has to keep moving forward if he really wants to get anywhere. I'm sure you'll reach your desired goals.

    Doris -- If we stop dreaming then life becomes mere drudgery. Dreams are the fuel the keeps the fire of life burning. I commend you for enjoying your ride through life.

    Diana -- I think a wife and mother is one of the most important achievements you could have accomplished. And often it's a job that is about the same as a nurse, but your patients are the ones you love most. Your dreams don't have to end, ever, and they can even become new and different dreams. Squirrel? I guess it could have been a worse animal. But didn't that squirrel have anything better to do than chew through cables? Maybe he should have been out looking for Mr. Toad.

    Dezmond -- You and I do have a bit in common despite our age difference. I wish I had gotten degrees in those fields but I got carried away by my dreams, which I don't regret either. I performed as a juggler, magic performer, and actor. The violinist (fiddler) gig was something different. I have enjoyed life and hope to enjoy it for many more years with many new experiences.

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  12. How fortunate you are to have hit so many of your dreams! I think you want to not forget them... keep working on them... and always have a back up plan. My back up plan (supporting myself) made me give up writing (the big dream) for a long time because I didn't have TIME for everything, but I've come back to it. Had I LEARNED more about writing earlier, I think I would have kept it up on the side a little more diligently, but it seemed sort of mysterious for years.

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  13. Carol -- Yeah, it's weird in a way how opposites attract, but it also makes sense. The combination of the two helps bring balance. It would probably be pretty tense and chaotic if neither planned and both worried or visa versa.

    Karen -- Dreams are usually bigger than the realities, but to even touch our dreams is a big deal. The greatest tragedy is for those who dream, but never try to do anything to achieve them. You are doing what you enjoy doing and to me you've have fulfilled the dream. I'll bet to your audiences you are a star.

    Madeleine -- Don't ever give up and you will be a published author.

    Gregg -- You did touch your dreams, and you achieved other dreams, and you still dream. You're alive and not giving up. The verses you cited are good ones. Focus is important in achieving dreams, but the right focus will help us achieve what is right and most important.

    Hart -- Sometimes I guess life sidetracks our dream quest, but as long as the dreams are not forgotten, or they are at least better reconciled to reality, we are heading on the right path.

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  14. Sorry I'm a little late. Glad to hear dreams come true and that I should hang on to hope. When I was in high school, well let's just say I was a wild child. I planned for weekends only. I wanted to be a major league baseball player but darn girls couldn't do that.

    Now that I'm older the only thing I dream of is happiness is the purest, simplest forms. Like Tabitha, just keep moving forward.

    Thank you so much for all your lovely comments lately. :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

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  15. You took quite the interesting path! I've always wanted to be an artist and did get a degree in Fine Arts. I'm still doing work of that nature, with a whole lot of technical and computer stuff added.

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  16. Great post :-D I love that you found a way to touch the cornerstones, of the things you love~

    I read a book once, that talked about our dream life; sometimes we can't have it exactly as we imagine, but we can still, walk in that field, be part of it. Sometimes just being in the area of what you love is enough to create the life you want. Me, moving around so much, has really created a vacuum for me. Yes, it sucked some life and fun out of me, but for most part, it was unique and adventurous. Just
    not exactly my journey~ I am trying now, while sidelined with an injury to find my path. Craft my life if you will~ I feel like I'm on the outside looking in, but the vision is getting clearer. Since age 10, I always wanted to be an artist. I think I am one, just not getting paid, yet... ;-D I have to keep putting myself out there and submitting my work. I have heard it is more difficult for creative types to find their path, since creativity can lead itself in many facets! I believe this is true~

    YOU have had an interesting life, dabbling at your dreams...now to fill the author dream! You can do it~ (Fun we were thinking so alike, I felt like I had written some of your sentences!)
    You weren't kidding about copy and paste! ;-D

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  17. Jules -- You're never too late to comment on Tossing It Out. I guess a lot of us were wild children. Who has time for plans when you're having a good time? To determinedly press forward is better than to be dragged into the future kicking and screaming. Glad to leave "lovely comments" on lovely posts.

    Alex --I definitely think you're living out your dreams. You got your degree in what you dream about and I guess your dream just met up with technology and took a slightly different turn. After all, you're looking toward the future with your new book, CassaStar -- another dream fulfilled for you.

    Ellie -- I love your comment! You are an artist. Even if you aren't getting paid you are still getting rewarded in other ways and though your reward isn't like money you can put in the bank, it is experience, reputation, and memories that won't devalue. If you want to make money with your art I have every reason to believe that you can. Just don't sell yourself short.

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  18. Sorry I am late Lee.

    When I was small all I wanted to do was to work with music, I did for a while in a record shop. It was a wonderful job and I enjoyed my time there, then I got married and started a family.
    But music and now poetry are the joys in my life besides my family and good friends.

    Thanks for the visit and wonderful comment
    What a stupid thing for me to do. My daughter came today and stayed until her son came home from school,

    Yvonne.

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  19. LOL! Lee, at age 14, I set four goals: I wasn't going to college because there wasn't a J-O-B I wanted, I wasn't having kids, I was going to be a professional photographer, and I was going to be an author. Four-for-four!
    However, I never envisioned professional speaking!!! EVER. Get up in front of people? No way! And yet, here I am...

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  20. Lee-

    It should be no surprise that my dream was a career in music.

    The artist dream died soon after high school-I just was never that good. I kept writing lyrics for years but never put enough effort into making the songwriter dream a reality (if there's any musicians reading who need a lyricist, it may not be too late!).

    In college, I picked a major (accounting)that would land me a job. I have been fortunate to find niche roles that are very interesting and varied enough to keep me refreshed-a straight accounting job would bore me to tears.

    I also had the dreams of a wife and family, and for a lot of years had a relationship with a lady I thought was THE ONE, but sadly, we were destined to be parallel lines. After she and I parted ways, that dream lost a lot of it's lustre-I guess love is for the young.

    I did have a dream of retiring early in five years or so and opening a CD store. Since CD's have become less financially viable, I still will probably do that, but it will be upon retirement when (Obamanomics willing) I will only need to break even (in five years I'd have my house paid for but still need enough income to live on and buy health insurance).

    I've been blessed though-by remaining single and having a pretty decent income, I've never really wanted for much, and it has allowed me to amass a really ludicrous music collection (if I am guilty of gluttony, it is in the buying of CD's).

    So even though I nowhere near where I thought I'd be when I set out, I've no complaints.

    Or, as Joe Walsh has said, "life's been good to me so far."

    LC

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  21. I'm surrendering and just resting for awhile before Plan B kicks in, or for when the road is revealed to me. I tend to worry about the future, but learning to let all go to God.

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  22. Yvonne -- Like I said before, you're never too late to leave a comment with me. You are one who is fortunate to have touched your dreams. We don't have to become stars or anything as long as our dreams are part of our lives in some way. Also, the beauty of having kids and grandchildren is that now you can share in their dreams and encourage them.

    L.Diane -- You did well in pursuing your dreams. And in your case it can be said that one good dream can lead to another, albeit unanticipated.

    Larry -- You are still riding the in the wake of the dream that is leading your way. You can still see it and feel it and that is so important. So many people just give up and become bitter. You have made the best of your situation. Recognizing that life has been good to you is part of a happy journey.

    Lynn--Living God's dream is the ultimate dream. Aimless worry is not healthy or productive--the Bible tells us so. Resting a while is okay so long as we're not asleep when the revelation comes.

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  23. I'm doing so much in my life that I dreamed of when I was younger: being a mom, a wife, owning my own home free & clear, teaching, writing... I'm truly lucky :)

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  24. This was such a nice post! I think that a lot of times we don't realize just how we really do achieve our dreams...just not in the way that we imagined. I always wanted to be a teacher, a writer, and an astronaut. Well, I don't think I will ever be an astronaut, but I did enjoy those astronomy classes in college. In general, I also love looking at the stars. Teaching and writing have also become a huge part of my life, but in a different way than I had originally intended. I appreciated learning about your journey, and I hope that you are excited about the new adventures that are headed your way!

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  25. Jemi --You are not only lucky in achieving what you have, but also you are fortunate that you recognize your blessings.

    Professor D.--- I think a lot of people really do achieve dreams without even fully knowing it. And it's okay if we have many dreams and don't achieve them all. The destination does not have to be exactly the same as the dream. I am always excited about what comes next.

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Lee