Just Do What You Want To Do
There are two kinds of people in the world. Actually there are almost seven billion kinds of people in the world, but for our purposes today, I’ll simplify. There are two kinds of people. The kind who fall neatly into slots other people choose for them, and the kind who make their own slots. I won’t complicate this by pointing out that at one time or another, we’ve probably all done both. Let’s just pretend life’s easy to understand and go from there.
As loyal blog followers know, I spent most of the past two weeks in New Zealand watching one of my earliest novels being made into a film for the German television station, ZDF. We won’t take up the question of why an American author flew to New Zealand to watch a German production company make a film of a novel originally set in Georgia. Suffice it to say that the transition works well, and that New Zealand has enough gorgeous and diverse locations to make a gazillion movies, as well as a flourishing film industry eager to help. What I really want to talk about is how often I noted people doing what they loved.
Take Terri and Jim, for instance. Terri and Jim are originally from the UK–although Jim spent time in Jamaica along the way. After a trip to New Zealand’s South Island, they went home and began to work toward the goal of moving back permanently to run a charter boat service. It took more than a decade to make the dream happen, but now Jim and Terri ARE Kaiteriteri Boat Charters, offering spectacular cruises through the Abel Tasman National Park. Their joy in what they do is catching. Every detail is performed with enthusiasm and care, plus they serve the best picnic lunch I’ve ever had, which permanently endeared them to all on board.
Then there was James. James is a runner, at least I think that’s what he’s called in filmspeak. James does everything. I noted him on the first day and the last, a young, energetic man who seemed to know exactly what to do and how to do it on time and with courtesy. On the last day I overheard him in conversation with another member of the crew. He talked about how his job was simply to do whatever needed to be done with no excuses. Not ever. Can you imagine a world in which everyone had that attitude? I have a strong feeling we’ll be hearing from James again. All of us. Because I’m sure James has plans to move on in the world of film, and I’m sure he will. James isn’t afraid to try.
How many of us can say that? I’m one of the lucky ones. I “fell” into writing when the opportunity presented itself. I adore what I do. But I was never told to follow my dream. I was told to be practical, to shoot for security, and not to step over boundaries because that wasn’t sensible.
I did step over boundaries, of course, and became a writer, even though I had a nagging feeling–and still do sometimes–that my typing skills might best be used for clerical work. Still, had I not found a publishing niche so quickly, would I have continued working toward my goal? I’d like to think I would have worked a decade for my dream, the way Jim and Terri did, but I’m not sure it’s true.
Do you have a dream you’re trying to fulfill? Go for it, and tell your children to do the same. We’ll all be better off because you did. After all, happiness and enthusiasm are catching. I know it’s true. I came home with both.
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