How Much Have You Forgotten By Your Thirties?

I finally saw Inside Out tonight. It’s a movie that all of my favorite people have been raving about and begging me to go see. I’d only heard amazing things about it, and Jane even mentioned and exalted it in her last post, Shake It Up, Mix It Together, and Reassemble. The movie was as good as everyone said it would be- in fact, I think it was even better than all the hype. It has become my absolute favorite Pixar movie.

Warning: Inside Out spoiler alert ahead…stop reading now if you haven’t seen the movie…and go see it.

There were quite a few moments in the movie that left me in tears..sometimes happy ones and sometimes really sad ones. One of the saddest moments for me was the disappearance of the protagonist, Riley’s, imaginary friend, Bing Bong. This imaginary friend was walking with another character, Joy, through the land of forgotten memories, and while he was there, he started to fade. First he lost a piece of hand, and then an arm, and then, in a moment of sacrifice, he let himself stay in forgotten memory land and fade away completely in order to let Joy escape.

When Bing Bong faded away, I lost it. I started weeping uncontrollably once Bing Bong was gone, even though I kind of saw it coming. And I saw it coming because I couldn’t remember my imaginary friend. Maybe I never even had one. Or maybe I forgot him or her. But it didn’t matter because that memory was gone. And so were many other memories from my childhood.

There’s so much we remember, and so much that fades. At this point we have 30-something years of memories. I realized recently that many of the memories I have repeat themselves over and over. The others are simply gone. It feels like such a shame to lose so much time but I guess that’s essentially part of the process of growing up. And we never stop growing up. Just because we’re already adults doesn’t mean that the growing up stops. It just keeps going and evolving. And fading.

As much as I uselessly grieved tonight over lost memories I can never get back, I was grateful for the ones I still have and for the present moment, where I can experience new things that aren’t gone or only memories yet. The disappearance of most memories is a darn good reason to try even harder to appreciate the present moment and to stay in the now- if you don’t grab onto the moment as it happens, you won’t ever experience it again and you may not even remember that it existed at all.

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Help! I’m 30 and Never Followed My Childhood Dream! – Part 2

Jane just wrote How Did You Find Your Career Path? and, in the article, she mentioned a lot of people that didn’t find their career, but instead had their career “find them.” There was the writing major friend of hers who ended up working in perfume, and the film school friend who went into advertising… And then she mentioned how people’s careers usually switch approximately 7 times in their life!

I have a friend who was a drama major who got a major role in a film that turned him off from acting. He went into teaching, loves it, and never looked back. My brother, another actor, was always big into video games and tech. He got a job during college in a video game store. He’s now a brilliant manager at that store and loves his job.

I’m finding lately that sometimes what you think you want to do isn’t actually what you want to do at all. It’s almost hard to admit here because it feels like giving up something…a part of who you are. In a post I wrote awhile ago, Help! I’m 30 and Never Followed My Childhood Dream, I remembered an episode of How I Met Your Mother. In that episode, the gang all realized that there were dream career paths from their childhood that they never followed but always held secret hopes that they one day would. Lily wanted to be a painter and someone wanted to be a rockstar…I can’t remember who. At the end of the episode they realize that they want to let those dreams go because they enjoy the paths they’re currently on even more.

It’s a hard lesson, and not always the case. Childhood career dreams sometimes become reality. Or they sometimes influence what you end up doing (all that drama school helps me see tradeshows as a kind of theater that I need to organize, occasionally direct, and always play my part in, haha). Also, childhood career dreams come in and out, sometimes reemerging as a fresh passion (Janna talks about going after her dancing and acting dreams again after stopping for awhile in Portrait of a Thirtysometing- Janna Davis.)

More than ever, I think that nowadays your career is something to create and evolve with…it isn’t a straight line but- to be corny- kind of a large garden, with seasons and fresh starts and different climates. Sometimes there’s sun and sometimes there’s snow. The soil remains the same (you), but can feel dried up or moistened (those times you realized your career path wasn’t working for you vs those moments of inspiration).

I’ve even heard before from friends that the best moments of their lives were after they got fired from their jobs. They were absolutely forced to start fresh in new jobs and situations they never would have turned to before.

That’s a scary situation and I would never wish for it. I love my job and my unforeseen career path, even though it was never my childhood dream. But I feel more and more that career paths can widen and change and twist into something far different, and maybe a lot better, than your childhood self ever could have dreamed up.

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The Secret Lives of Your Friends – Their Jobs

How much do you know about the nitty gritty of what your friends do at work? When you think about it, this is where your friends spend most of their waking hours. And it’s funny how we probably don’t know much about what compromises their days. Phone calls, meetings, emailing, all of that stuff, sure. But what aspect of their job do they love the most? What gets them excited to get through the day?

When we first graduated college, office jobs were something of a novelty, and I remember emailing my friends several times a day with updates from cubicle-land. “I just got inter-officed an envelope. Awesome.” “OMG, my boss is crazy.” “Ughhhh….so bored right now. Need a coffee.”

But as we inched into our late twenties and early 30’s, the emails stopped as we became more focused and dedicated to our work. Now, while I know my friends’ job titles, I don’t know the specifics of their day. I love specifics. Call me nosy, but I want to know what a typical hour of their day looks like.

Well today I got to visit Laura at work and see what her job is like. She was visiting Southern California, where she was working as a Product Specialist for Ford Motors at the LA Auto Show. Laura’s job is a mixture of marketing and sales and it was pretty fascinating to see her in action. She travels across the country, presenting the new products to consumers. She’s interacting with consumers all day and getting sales leads. It’s also exciting to see what a non-office job really looks like. I think it’s pretty great that she doesn’t have to sit tied to a computer screen all day.

Here’s some pictures from my visit today.

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Laura and I in the crazy big Ford truck. Not sure which one this was.

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My dude, Me and Laura in front of the underside of a Ford Mustang

Help! I’m 30 and Never Followed My Childhood Dream!

There was this episode of “How I Met Your Mother” where Ted and the gang all realize that they may never accomplish “someday” childhood career dreams they’re all still holding onto.

Someone had always wanted to be a painter, someone else a rockstar, and then there were a few really ridiculous ideas…I can’t remember all of the dreams. The gang reminisces about the career pursuits they once longed for. Some of them try to pursue the dreams once again in order to turn them into a reality. They realize they’ve all been hoping to accomplish their childhood dreams ‘one day.’ By the end of the half hour, they let the dreams go, and keep on the path they were on before. The moral seems to be: we need to put those childhood dreams to rest for something better to take hold in our lives.’

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Lily wants to be a painter. Barney wants to be…a knight? Who knows? Hahaha, he’s pretty funny no matter what.

 

I was never satisfied with that episode. I think one of the reasons it got under my skin was that my career path has taken such a different turn from what I’d originally expected. When I watched that episode, I wondered if I’d given up on my childhood career dream. Am I still holding on to the belief that I’ll one day pick up my former dream again? Is that belief false?

Right now, I’m a self-employed Corporate Spokesperson and Product Specialist (to be better explained in another post), and I work in a lot of different industries, traveling at least half the time. I really enjoy what I do. When I don’t ponder dream careers and childhood ‘what I want to be when I grow up’s”, I feel a deep satisfaction with my job….for now. But then I think along the lines of: ‘Am I pursuing my dreams?’ ‘Is my inner child satisfied?’ ‘Do I know what my career dreams are?’ The questions lead me down all sorts of analytical paths.

I wonder what it means to feel satisfied right now while not pursuing my childhood dream. 

I wonder what my career dream really is. I always thought I wanted to be an actor- but that’s not my dream at the moment. What do I make of that? Have I given up? Was it never really my dream?

I think of the famous men and women who began what became their ‘defining career start’ later in life. The long list of people includes Vera Wang (40 when she entered the fashion industry), Henry Ford (57 when he created the Model T), Suze Orman (36 when she started her financial group), Gene Hackman (37 when he got his first film role), Colonel Sanders (62 when he franchised Kentucky Fried Chicken), Stan Lee (38 when he created his first comic: The Fantastic Four), Julia Child (50 when her first cookbook came out), Laura Ingalls Wilder (65 when the “Little House on the Prairie” books came out)….and many more.

Some of these people pursued a childhood dream that was finally accomplished late in life, and others ended up on a completely new career path…or two or three. I’m sure all of them had moments of confusion about the paths they were on. I’m sure they had many more moments of feeling like they failed. But the important part was that they kept on, proving that they were trying even while possibly failing and failing again.

Right now, I’m satisfied with my career. I’m not pursuing my childhood dream, but it’s not what I want at the moment. And for now, all I can do is listen to my gut. There are times when I’m filled with doubt, and times when I feel confused, but I find clarity in trusting myself and continuing forward, trying to be brave enough to fail and fail again. I make changes as I go, add and subtract, and above all, I continue questioning.

Careers twist and turn, and it’s both okay to pursue your childhood dream with a vengeance, or to let it go to make room for other dreams…or then to pick it back up again years later. Stay honest with yourself, know it’s never too late, and let yourself question your dreams, both old and new.

 

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