You hear it all the time, “You are never too old to follow your dreams.” I always thought that was just a cliche that people use in tv shows and movies. You have an attractive actor struggling with staying in their mundane job or finally going after their dream. Ultimately, the actor follows their dream and is successful by the end of the story. But what happens in real life?
Do real people leave a successful career because it is not their real passion in life? And, if they do, are they as successful as they were in their previous career?
These questions have plagued my thoughts over the past few years as I, much like those attractive actors, have contemplated leaving my very successful career as a teacher to chase after my dream. See, I have always wanted to be a writer. Sure, I went through phases of wanting to be a pop singer or an actress, but deep down I knew I did not have the passion to drive me to be successful in those careers.
I developed a love of writing at the age of twelve. I remember it clearly as if it weren’t a little over twenty years ago. It was the summer of 1997, and I had developed a rather massive celebrity crush on Taylor Hanson from the band Hanson. Since I was not the leader of my group of friends, I had to lie and say that my true celebrity crush was Zac Hanson since our leader had already called dibs on Taylor.
I would say this infatuation was becoming an obsession as I plastered my walls with every Teen Bop or Tiger Beat poster of the Hansons that I could find. During this time, the internet was now becoming popular and popping up in homes all around the country. I began to look up everything that I could on my beloved crush.
That is when I found the holy grail for a twelve-year-old girl, fan fiction. I couldn’t get enough of these stories written about Hanson. That’s when it hit me, instead of reading everyone else’s fantasies, I would write my own. We only had one computer in the house, and I had to share it with my brother and my father. This meant that if I was going to write my fan fiction, I was going to have to write it by hand.
I began buying cute looking small notebooks and filling them to the brim with all of my little fantasies about the Hansons. All of the stories were basically the same where I somehow became friends with the three brothers with the last name Hanson. In the end, I always ended up in a romantic relationship with Taylor. One fan fiction even had Taylor and Zac fighting over me. I was living out all of my preteen fantasies on each page.
Soon my love for Hanson faded as their songs began to drop on the charts. With that my style of writing began to change. At first, I began to write murder mysteries involving my friends. It always ended the same way, with everyone dying. My mother never really liked that style. She said it was too depressing. Soon after that came my actual depressing writing as I became the typical moody teenager. Instead of writing stories, I turned to deep and dark poetry.
My poetry got me a few awards and even a scholarship to college. I thought I was going to be writing forever. It only took two semesters in college for me to realize how difficult it would be to become a successful writer. I remember the day I realized this. I was in a poetry class, and the girl next to me was disabled to the point that she had a machine talking for her and she had a helper with her at all times. It was her turn to share her poem. She had written a two-page poem on her wheel chair’s screen using only the movement of her eyes. The amazing part was that her poem was a lot better than mine. She couldn’t even feed herself or talk, but she could write better poetry than I could? In that moment, my dreams of being a writer died.
I switched majors to English and slowly began to stop writing. It wasn’t until 7 years after graduating college, when I became a middle school English teacher, that I began to write again. My students were genuinely amazed that the words I would read to them were my own. They kept encouraging me to follow my dream.
The opportunity came when my husband was offered an amazing job opportunity which would be able to support us. I am now turning into that cliche and chasing after my dream.