“I am in my early 20s and have a passion for the film industry. My dream job is screenwriting and directing. Right now, I’m working as a bartender at a cocktail bar – super late nights and, at times, a draining job. Still, it covers my living expenses and allows me to save up for my own film studio, another dream of mine. I feel my dream is achievable far in the future. Still, I am questioning if it is too risky to work my ass off as a bartender for the next 10 years for a dream that realistically may or may not come true. I have won awards for my work, and I try to apply for grants throughout the year. Should I continue working how I am with the hope and intention of achieving my dream or, do I look at changing my career path to a more mainstream practical job?’
Signed, Dreaming in LA
I applaud your focus, vision, and courage. How exciting to be pursuing one’s dreams! You seem very serious about this, which is excellent, but yet you are likely putting unnecessary pressure on yourself.
You can pay your bills and are even saving for your own studio. Wow! That is impressive. You are looking for a black and white answer, but there is a lot of grays here. Black and white solutions make things all neat and tidy, but the gray is where the magic, and reality, exist. The trick is to practice ‘being ok’, not knowing what all of this is going to look like. Encourage yourself to be more in the now and have your eye on your dreams.
Do I think you need to be “practical” and get a mainstream job? No, kiddo, you are in your early 20s. Time is in your favor. Follow your dreams… IF it brings you joy.
You can pay your bills and even save for your dream, so you are being practical. Maybe you want to know that this is going to pay off, and you aren’t wasting your time? Nothing is a waste of time, and you can find meaning in every experience.
Have you considered getting a job in the industry in some capacity? Even part-time? Maybe you can bartend a little less and work during the day and still make ends meet. This will give you the chance to plug directly into the industry, which will be fulfilling and invaluable. You can make connections and also may even decide to change your goals once you see some things first hand.
Or, get a different full-time job that interests you more if bartending is too much drudgery for you. The point here is to follow your interests, even in your non-dream related job, to keep you in the flow. You don’t have to be miserable at work in order to follow your dreams. You can pleasantly do both. Plus, doing more of what you enjoy keeps your vibe higher, which brings more of what you want to you. Make sense?
So, let whatever you are doing has some enjoyment to it to keep you in the flow. If that means staying in the current situation, ok. If it means finding another scenario to give you income while staying on course for your dreams, then there you go.
This is an exciting time in your life! You have many years ahead to be able to see your dreams come to fruition, so keep it light and fun while you stay focused. Get involved in the industry more so that to create more opportunities and be open to adjusting your vision. Most importantly, don’t be too focused on what you think it has to look like precisely, or you could miss something even better. Read that last sentence again.
Life is a journey, not a destination. There is no “getting there,” so enjoy the ride by creating a balance of work, play, and self-care. I sense you are a very serious person. It’s ok to loosen the grip a bit. Trust yourself… you won’t let go. Re-evaluate your plan from time to time and assess if you are on the desired course. Be flexible and fluid and follow the path of most fulfillment. Yes, that too is practical!
Best wishes for a fulfilling journey, and I can’t wait to see what you create!