Sunday, July 1, 2012

Should Dreams Ever Die?

"A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams." - John Barrymore 
I have to scramble to write three posts a week spread out over two blogs these days since I accepted the invitation to write for Football Tickets Online, and they get two posts a week under my pseudonym Steelerfanmom.  So I have to come up with interesting topics during the offseason with limited time and no patience for a lot of research, work full-time, care for a sixty year old house, manage the expenses, deal with the pets and so on.  Not to make it sound like my husband doesn't contribute, he does, but I will tell you, just viewing it from my perspective, I've got the more loaded plate.  And it's all my own fault.  Because no one ever said I had to do even one blog, let alone two and all for free.

Truth be told, I've had some self-doubt over the football blog.  My gender is showing in comparison to my fellow contributors, who are submitting much more fact-oriented pieces as opposed to my mainly sentimental dribble about being a fan.  When it comes to sports, I confess to a certain level of sexual discrimination.  It's not that I think women feel less for their favorite teams - maybe the opposite is true - but they feel it differently.  It's like a relationship for us, it's more emotionally based than statistically based.  I can't tell you Ben Roethlisberger's QB rating without looking, and I can't do the algebra to compare it equitably to, say, a Michael Vick who has been with more than one team and had an interruption in his career to boot.  I can debate who had the larger moral lapses off the field until the cows come home (Vick - because dogs don't have any choice in the matter, and I'm a dog person besides), but I'm not sure most male readers really care one way or the other.  They're focused on x's and o's.  So I feel like a fish out of water as a result and sometimes wonder if I ought to throw in the Terrible Towel before the football season actually gets started.  But, I did it to begin with because it was a chance to write and that was what I grew up seeing myself as doing.  What I really wanted to be doing.  So here I am, at a rather advanced age, trying to hang on to a childhood dream.  I'm not sure if that's noble or pathetic.  The answers I've come up with have varied depending upon my mood or how stressed I happen to be with other real-life issues.

Therefore, the question for the rest of you is:  how crazy is it to keep on pursuing a dream into one's twilight?  Not that I'm actually quite in my twilight years (that I know of), but I am without doubt on the wrong side of midlife.  Like most people with childhood ambitions, they derailed for me early on in the simple scramble to keep a roof over my head.  One thing led to another, and while I wrote for fun, it wasn't keeping the rent paid, so I spent more time at work than at fun.  Eventually I added a husband then a family to the mix and writing was a luxury - a rare one.  I got to trot it out in my work, so it's not like it was a skill set I never used, but the vision of writing the next great fantasy trilogy was a fast fading ambition.  Do I regret it?  I'm a little sad, but it's silly to regret such things.  Life is what life is.  My road went another direction and there is no reset button, so why worry about it?  The only blank pages are the ones in front of me.

My question becomes, what do I do with those blank pages of my life yet to be filled in?  Do I try and become a published writer now?  Well, bills still have to be paid.  I've got others who rely on me for support to boot.  It's not a simple choice that involves only just me.  And what sort of career could I truly hope to have at this point?  And what would I write?  That fantasy trilogy I dreamed about as a girl (hint:  unicorns were involved) or something more along the lines of a self-help book (the bad parenting book bounces around my head a lot - I've even got a structure and semi-outline in mind)?  But, as I pointed out to a friend recently, I've never gained a particularly wide audience for this blog, so I don't know that I'd be successful with it.

One of my actual Pittsburgh friends recently celebrated the release of her first CD.  She is who I think of a lot when I debate such things with myself.  She never gave up the dream.  Maybe she'll never be a household name like Britney Spears, but, hey, who really wants to be Britney Spears these days?  Maybe Lindsay Lohan does.  I'm not dissatisfied being me.  I think my friend is pretty happy being herself too.  But she now has earned the privilege of expanding her definition of who she is to include recording artist.  Now, can I be me and a published author too?  Well, I'm not sure, but while I was writing this, @Steelers_Fan picked up my latest football post and tweeted it.  Mike Tomlin follows that Twitter account.  Maybe that's 15 seconds of my 15 minutes worth of fame.  Whatever it is, it's pretty cool.  Cool enough to keep me scrambling after the dream just a little while longer.

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