Throughout our whole life there is one question that is repeatedly asked in various forms—the most basic form of this question being, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Often, our answers to this question change many, many times over the course of our childhood, and by the time we are in college and actually ready to choose a career, we have a nice, practical answer that will receive an, “Aw, that’s nice,” response. I can not help but wonder, though: what would happen if, when asked what we wanted to do for the rest of our lives, we answered with an answer more similar to one we would have given when we were younger?
During my senior year my grandfather asked me what I planned on doing after high school. I answered that I would take a year off of school and then go to college. Well, he didn’t like the year off idea, but we got through that part of the conversation. Then, he asked what I planned to study in college, and I answered, “Music.” This response was answered with a moment of thoughtful silence. After the silence I was informed on the growing need for nurses and medical jobs, the guaranteed pay, and the nobility of the nature of the work.
You see, when we are little and answer that same question with,” I want to be a princess!” or, “I want to be an astronaut!” we get positive responses encouraging us to follow our dreams. After all, we can do anything—even become President. This all changes, though, when we get older, and I went on a personal search to find out why.
When it comes to finding a career, there are many questions we ask ourselves: Will this career provide an income that will meet my financial needs? Is this something I could bear doing for a substantial amount of time? Is this something I can do period? Is there an ability to be promoted? Are there benefits? And, of course, there are many, many more. There is one question that many people ask me when I state that I want to work in the music industry: Is it practical? A practical career is something that is seriously necessary. That is common sense. However, many people’s idea of “practical” is something that has a set route to accomplishment. Something that is already figured out and has been done by many before. Something that will lead to definite success. Other people’s idea of practical is often my idea of “normal” and normal sometimes feels a little boring. That is where the biases come in, and no doubt, I am biased just like anyone else when it comes to interpreting the meaning of the word. So, just to be fair, here are a few definitions of the word practical from http://www.thefreedictionary.com: Practical- Capable of or suitable to being used or put into effect; useful; Level-headed, efficient, and unspeculative.
The words that stand out to me in those definitions are “useful” and level-headed. These are all subject to peoples’ opinions. I believe that one should pursue their craziest, most “ridiculous” dreams when they are young and have nothing to lose. It makes the most sense, if we’re going for rationality. What would it be like to have a great desire to do something, but because someone told you it’s unpractical, or irrational, or you won’t succeed, you never even tried? What would it feel like to still have that desire in you when you are married with a house and children and a steady job and know there is too much at risk to try now? Too many people know that feeling, in my opinion, and I do not want to be one of them.
I’m not saying that finding a “normal” career is bad—if you want to be a teacher or nurse or businessman-woman with everything in you, by all means do that. My point to this whole blog is to say that there is a question we leave out when contemplating a career: Will this make me happy? Believe it or not, there are people who absolutely love their jobs. That is what I want for people, and for myself. That is a practical question. When people are doing what they love, they work harder. When people are doing what they love, it doesn’t feel like work, and they are happier. When people love what they do, they make better decisions, get sick less, work better with others, etc. For more information on the benefits of loving what you do, see this website. Maybe if everyone in the world followed their dreams and did what they are most passionate about, the world would be a happier place?
For me, music is my passion and what makes me happiest in life. Although it is very hard to find a career in music that is stable and will have you set for the rest of your life, to me, it is worth a try. It is my childish answer to what I want to be when I grow up. And according to elistmania.com, musicians are the #1 people most content with their jobs. In conclusion, be crazy. Be smart, have a plan, but be crazy too. There are risks that must be taken in every aspect of every job. Don’t be afraid of taking unconventional risks if they are required to do what you love. As a college student, even if you fall flat on your face, you have the rest of your life to be practical….and at least you’ll have peace of mind knowing you at least tried to follow your craziest dreams.
“God’s dreamers are always unpractical, but in the end…their dreams come true.” –Amy Carmichael.