Day 323. Now, The Story is Coming Home From Dreams

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Dang it, I’m a week behind again. I’m going to see how many I can turn out today.

So, the story has changed.

I started out this blog talking a lot about story. My move to California was the story of pursuing dreams, of the ups and downs of doing the thing that people often just think about doing. It was the story of love and loneliness, as Michelle let me go pursue while she stayed home.

Now, the story is coming home from dreams.

Movies always end with the main character reaching his dreams, or driving away to pursue something. They’re like a good improv scene, where you end with a laugh, you let the scene play out, and then you end at the height of it. One of my favorite, and meaningful movies, Good Will Hunting, ends with a shot of him driving across the country in his old car to see about a girl. It was the perfect place to end the movie, I wouldn’t have wanted to watch him arriving and them settling in, and all that stuff. But, real life isn’t like that. I had my moment where I got in my crappy car and drove across the country. Then, I got home. There were no credits rolling.

It’s kind of weird.

I remember when I arrived in LA, I tried to convince myself that I wasn’t really in shock the first few weeks, when, now that I look back on it, it’s obvious that I was in shock. I think I’m recognizing that I’m in that stage again.

I had held onto the ideas of making it in Hollywood, or acting, or writing, or comedy for a long time, long before I actually pulled up and moved. Plus, the experience was pretty affirming that it is what I like to do, and it was affirming that I’m good enough to do it. Now, I’m not sure what to do with those dreams. Do I force myself to abandon them? That feels disingenuous. Do I still hold on to them? That feels unrealistic, and I can’t make my life as busy as I had before, when I pursued them in all my spare time. I’m having a hard time extricating myself from those hopes, and there is no time when I feel that tension more than when I’m looking through job postings. They aren’t all bad, they’re just a lot of “meh.”

I’ve put too high a hope on what my next job will be. It’s like I want to explain to the invisible they, “Yeah, I had to come back from LA, but at least I got a job working as a ______” I’m also trying to avoid, “I loved it out there, and now I’m just working as a _____” Luckily, for that thought, I’m getting to the desperate mode, so I’m willing to get a job doing whatever. Unluckily, for life in general, I’m getting to desperate mode. Trying to explain things to “they” is an empty, disheartening task. The other day, I heard the money amounts from Michelle about what we have in our checking and savings now, and what we had at this time last year. It’s one thing to say, going for your dreams is an experience you can’t replace, it’s so worth it, but it’s another thing to say, going for my dreams cost X amount of money. Knowing that X makes things seem less worth it. I’ve always stayed on top of where we’re at with money pretty well, but this last year I couldn’t really get myself to look at it. Now I know.

The small income things I used to have like freelancing, and the Mystery Hour would feel like a million bucks right now, but I temporarily gave those up, and I’ve got to do a lot of work to get them on track.

So, yeah, I’m pretty discouraged right now. I think I need to just get a job doing whatever. There aren’t lofty stakes (besides health insurance) attached to everything. However, my ego thinks there is.

For a story to be good, at some point, the main character has to be lost and down, and not know how things are going to work out.

In which case, maybe this new story is a good one.

The only way to the other side is through.



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3 responses to “Day 323. Now, The Story is Coming Home From Dreams

  1. Here is where I am after years of thought on the job front, Jeff. The JOB is not necessarily your LIFE. Sure it would be GREAT if it COULD be your calling, your life dream, the thing you love second only to family and God. But I suspect that even then, at some point, regardless of what THEY tell you, it all becomes work and sucks the joy out of the thing you loved. Maybe not always. Like winning the lottery, I’m willing to give it a shot and prove I could be a GOOD and RESPONSIBLE winner, but how many stories have you heard of it ending poorly? Lots. So, take a job that is a means to the end and pursue your dream at your luxury. It will still stay fun, you’ll get the bills paid and you are not an indentured servant. You can change jobs. This isn’t like our parent’s time when they took a job and worked at it until they retired. If the grass is greener, move and graze.

  2. Lisa VG

    1) Good Will Hunting = one of the best film endings EVER! We will have to talk about this on Thursday at small group 🙂

    2) Your story is unfolding like may stories I’ve read and seen, which makes me think there is a lot of adventure left to be experienced and a lot of lessons left to be learned. I mean, a story doesn’t climax with, “so, he went to LA to pursue his dreams…” and then resolve with, “…and then, he went home.” Every hero’s journey moves beyond this point. In fact, it’s often thought of as a death and then a rebirth. (Read about the theory here Get ready to be reborn!

  3. This is all temporary and you will fight through it just fine if you chose to. Just don’t lose sight of your goals and still work towards them to ensure they are achieved to your satisfaction. You got this.

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