The other night as I was sitting on my couch watching the SAG Awards with a glass of wine in my hand and my husband next to me. I thought about how I used to dream of being an actor attending award shows, walking the red carpet, and being nominated for Best Performance by a Female Actor. It was a dream I chased for almost an entire decade.
If you follow me on Twitter, then you had a glimpse into what inspired this post. For the first time watching an award show for film and television, I felt so content just watching. I leaned over to my husband and told him, “I love what I do”. Because after nearly ten years of pursuing an actor’s dream, I let it go to chase a different dream. It was intimidating to admit that acting didn’t fulfill me anymore, but none of us should ever waste our days just going through the motions.
I attended my first acting class when I was 14. I booked my first 35mm student film (meaning I did it for free) when I was 17. At 19, I moved to Orlando to attend university and hopefully make it to more auditions. At 21, I booked some print work and small commercial roles. For several years, I attended monthly or weekly acting classes (which are still the only thing I truly miss) and I felt pretty damn good when I booked something, no matter how small. I went through this same routine for years.
Time to Let it Go
But something changed. My agent would call, and a shock of anxiety would rush through my body. I’d drive to auditions with tears in my eyes. I felt nauseous walking into a casting room and a rush of relief would flood my body when I walked out. I’d sit in a green room on set and feel miserable. What was wrong with me?!
And then it hit me. I didn’t like what I was doing anymore. I hated the auditions, I disliked the judgment every time I walked into an audition, and I despised the way I judged myself. Even when I booked something, my soul wasn’t satisfied. It was like I was chasing this dream because I didn’t know anything else.
There seems to be this stigma around letting go of something before you’ve accomplished it. Like, if someone doesn’t succeed exactly as they’ve expected, they feel they have failed. I refused to feel that way about this. Why would I want to keep pursuing something that left me so empty inside?
Does any of this sound familiar to you? Is there a “dream” you’re chasing that gives you more anxiety and stress than pleasure? Do you wake up feeling lost, but keep going through your routine? Are you scared to tell your loved ones that something you wanted so bad doesn’t light the fire inside you anymore? Hey, it’s okay to admit it. 🙋
That’s exactly what it felt like. Letting go of that dream was like breaking up with a relationship I struggled to make work for nearly 10 years. But when you think about it, relationships don’t work unless you do. And I wasn’t working hard enough in this relationship because I didn’t care enough. I gave this dream my whole heart when I wanted it, but falling out of love is a real thing. It took months of contemplation, tears, and meditation to accept that I wasn’t “giving up” on my dream, but that I was whole-heartedly letting it go because I didn’t love it anymore.
Breaking up with anything, or anyone, in life can be terrifying. Many of us thrive on being comfortable or doing what we “know”. But isn’t it much worse to live a life that doesn’t bring us satisfaction and joy?It's okay to change paths. At the end of the day, your happiness is a priority and you should never be chasing a dream just because it's what you've always done. Letting go takes courage.Click To Tweet
And suddenly, I felt free. I had an education, a comfortable office job, a new husband, and the world in my hands. For the first time in my life, I felt like I could do anything I wanted to do.
Chasing a New Dream: The Weekend Fox
The desire to start a travel and lifestyle blog was something that had been sparking inside of me for 2 years before I actually launched The Weekend Fox. It’s scary starting something new. As much as I wasn’t enjoying acting, I knew the process. I knew what to expect at my auditions, how to practice my craft, and who to trust along the way. So diving into the blogging world was a world of unknown. It took me several months to take the tiniest steps, but with a good coach and mentor, I took my sweet time adjusting to this new dream.There are no rules for chasing your dreams. If you have the passion and desire to pursue something, then you're already one step ahead. Follow your own path and be kind to the process.Click To Tweet
And now that the 9-5 dream has dissipated, I’m chasing the full-time blogger life and I’ve never worked harder in my life. I feel a rush of excitement when I hit “publish” on a new post. Connecting with my readers, and other bloggers, fills my soul and keeps me pushing for bigger and better. I finally feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing and that is the greatest feeling in the world.
Follow Your Heart
As humans, we continue to grow, develop, experience new things, and feel. Our dreams, passions, and desires are allowed to develop with us. Life-changing events could totally alter our direction and that’s okay. Change your mind. And then change your mind again.
I will never allow myself to feel trapped by a dream again. If one day I wake up and realize I’m a miserable blogger with no passion, heart, happiness, or drive, I’ll immediately address those issues. And I’m not saying every time I go through a “funk” I’m going to throw away a dream and start something new, but I refuse to waste my days just going through the motions. Don’t settle. your heart.Life is too short to chase anything that doesn't light a fire inside of you.Click To Tweet
If you take one thing away from this post, know that letting go of your dreams does not mean you failed…
It means you have courage and you’re brave.
The Weekend Fox Advice:
- Don’t make drastic, impulsive decisions, but acknowledge your feelings and desires. Write them down. Figure out the why.
- Talk to someone you trust. My husband and parents are my support team. I always confide in them and listen to their perspective.
- Eliminate the “noise” from other people that don’t matter in your life. I saw a Facebook status from an old high school acquaintance that bashed those of us that chose to create a life in our hometown. As if, because we didn’t move across the country or backpack through Europe, we were failures at life. It bothered me, at first. And then I remembered that their opinion isn’t allowed to have any control over my life.
- Your dreams cannot be too big or too small. They are your dreams.
- It’s never too late to change your mind, take risks, work harder, learn more, or choose happiness.