I’m one of those people who had their lives pretty much in order. Whenever an adult asked little 6-year-old me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would instantly reply, “I want to be an author.” That’s been my answer for pretty much my whole life. I love to write, and I want it to be my career one day.
Slowly, however, I’ve been waking up to the idea of, “oh, you know, I’m going to have to find another career here at some point.” After reading Kristina Horner’s (one of my favorite YouTubers) blog post about her getting a day job at Microsoft, this idea burned itself into my brain even clearer. This quote in particular explains why she’s not making YouTube her full-time job and why I’m not expecting to become a full-time author until I’m past the stress of feeling like I need to write to fill deadlines or make money:
“Sometimes we even enjoy making things just for the sake of creation, but when you add financial pressure to that, you can literally feel your enjoyment start to deflate.”
I realized that sitting at a computer all day writing my heart out is very, very far into the future. I’ll probably never be a writer full-time until after I’ve gotten a day job, settled down, and published a few books without the pressure of having to come out with something on a regular basis. Betting my whole life on a lucky stroke of getting published and getting an English degree… all that isn’t going to work out without a lot of luck, and I needed to hear it as I approach the end of my high school career.
To anyone out there still trying to figure out what you want out of your hobby, take this to heart. Whether it’s YouTubing, skateboarding, writing, singing, filmmaking… I encourage you to stop and think. Really think about what you want to do, why you want to do it, and whether or not your ideal lifestyle and the lifestyle you want to chase after match up. Consider your hobbies and whether you truly want to make them your only lifeline.
Because once your favorite thing in the world becomes mandatory, something you need to do day after day… is that truly the life you want to live?
A short conclusion: this isn’t supposed to make anyone give up what they love. In fact, the title of this post is a little misleading. I am chasing my dreams–just very slowly. I’m mostly just lowering my expectations and understanding that I need to put other things first because writing isn’t something I can realistically do full-time as soon as I leave college and enter the working world. Sure, famous singers and actors love what they do and have perhaps been doing these things their whole lives. However, when you watch movies and documentaries about these people (take Katy Perry, for instance), you see a whole lot of stress and disappointment that you need to prepare yourself for should you decide to take your hobby to a new level.
Go follow your dreams, everyone! Just make sure you’ve got a net to catch you if those dreams let you down.