The people who know me know that I’m an avid fan of The Big Bang Theory. The group of nerds that just can’t quite seem to fit in with the rest of the world speaks to the child in me, the girl child that liked super heroes and comic books, fantasy and Dungeons and Dragons (back when it wasn’t cool for girls to like that stuff). I built radios and learned to program a computer (Okay, so, it was a Commodore 64. That doesn’t change the accomplishment.) In short, I love these guys (earlier seasons are best).
I was watching the show the other day and came to the episode where Penny decides to quit her job at the Cheesecake Factory and give her acting her all. Leonard, of course, isn’t nearly as supportive of this as she’d like, and she’s venting to Sheldon. She asks Sheldon if he thinks she’s making a mistake, and Sheldon responds with “No, I don’t think you are. The best way to achieve your goal is to devote 100% of your time and energy to it. When I decided I wanted to be a physicist, I didn’t take some other job in case it didn’t work out.”
And now we get to my question of the day, something that’s been bugging me since I re-watched the show.
Why is it that those who go into ‘practical’ careers – lawyer, doctor, teacher, accountant, etc. – aren’t expected to maintain another job once they’ve acquired the necessary education and licenses? They’re expected to dive in and work in their fields. However, those of us who want to work in fields like writing, art, acting, music, etc., those things that aren’t ‘practical’ or ‘realistic’ are expected to do just that. We’re expected to put our dreams and desires on hold ‘until we can make it’. These things are set aside until there’s time or until the kids are grown or until the bills are paid. Pick an ‘until’. But, at the same time, how many people quote O’Shaughnessy with “We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of the dreams”? We’re told we can be anything we want to be, do anything we want to do, yet, if we take the chance to do just that, we’re told we need to grow up, be practical, focus on daily life, etc.
How much more successful would we be if we had the chance to devote all our attention to our dreams? If we could spend the 40 hours a week working on our art, our music, our writing, etc.? If we weren’t having to squeeze in time wherever we could find it?
And now we come to the really big question:
How do we do it?