Last night during the Emmys, long before the touching Robin Williams’ tribute, I started to cry. And not because I realized I now have Kathy Bates’ physique, but because I realized that it is getting less and less likely that I am going to make my dream of becoming a writer for Saturday Night Live come true.
Now, in my experience there are two different types of dreams. The kind you love to fantasize about on rainy days, but realize on some deep level, will never come true and wouldn’t make you happy if they did. For example, being able to fly. Seriously, you’d have to get all your clothes tailored and wings would be hell to keep clean and you’d either have to sleep on your stomach or alone since they’d take up most of the bed.
Then, there are the dreams that, no matter how lofty, you know are...or were...achievable. The ones that you know you could have made come true if you’d just been in the right place at the right time, or worked a little harder, or made different life decisions. Those dreams--the ones you really, potentially could have made them come true, but didn't--are the ones that are hard to swallow—at least, without puking them back up.
In my mid-twenties, I was in New York City. I was meeting people. I was going places. My work was being produced at comedy joints like The Duplex. Then, I came back to Lexington to make a film. And, not just any film…the film that was going to propel me into the career I so desired. Then, the investor dropped out. So, I drained my bank accounts to pay off the cast and crew. The experience not only knocked all the wind out of my sails, but ripped them into rags. I gave up on myself. And, I gave up on my dream of becoming a successful NYC comedy writer. Worse, I stopped allowing myself to dream big altogether. For the last twenty years, I’ve kept my dreams small and manageable. And, I have suffered for it.
This leads me to one of the happiness habits from the Huffington Post article. It claimed that, as a rule, happy people are resilient people. Depressed people are those who give up on their dreams and succumb to failure.
Then during the acceptance speech for Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special, I had an epiphany. I could still accomplish that. I’m 46, not dead. I could still win an Emmy. Why the hell not? After all, I can still type. I wiped the tears from my eyes—which burned like hell, since I’d been drowning my sorrows in salted, buttered popcorn and still had residue on my fingers—and decided that I don’t want to be a Dream Quitter. I’d rather die trying to accomplish something amazing even if I don’t succeed, than to live without trying.
For in the words of Mark Twain, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
the bourbonistA, Promoting Debauchery and stamping out political-correctness one blog at a time.