Thursday, September 20, 2012

Living Your Dream...It's Never Too Late

Children grow up thinking about what they would like to be as adults.  This has never made any sense, because how could anyone without any life experience possibly know about how they want to make a commitment of that magnitude about anything, let alone how they want to spend every waking hour of every day for years and years and years.  Think about it.  At eighteen you decide what you want to do when you are forty.

Some people actually make career decisions when they are five, and continue to pursue their dreams all their lives.  Jordan for example, decided she wanted to be on stage when she was four or five, and has never changed her mind.  She performed in every school play from the time she was in preschool and the dialogue went something like;
“You shut up.”
“No you shut up!”
“Saying shut up is not nice!”
It wasn’t very interesting or challenging, but she did it on stage, one that was real or imaginary. 

When she was ten she found her own “theater” summer camp in the back of the “New York Times Magazine.”  When she was in high school, she knew that her goal was a BFA, in theater.  And after she graduated, she never waivered.  It was always what she wanted.

This is probably not the norm.  I never knew what I wanted to do everyday, except have fun.  Summer camp was my worst nightmare because my athletic ability (other than swimming) didn’t really exist.  When I went to college, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, except maybe get married and, of course, have fun.  My major was most pragmatic, a degree in what was called, Speech Education with a minor in Dramatic Literature. Teaching was a way to make a living.  Theater was a passion.  Acting was out of the question and being tone deaf doesn’t work if you want to sing. This is not to say I was talent free in everything.  One of my gifts was convincing people they needed to do what I wanted them to do.  My friend Harold Ickes said I could convince a fire plug to let a dog pee on it.  My Graduate degree was a Master of Science in Communication.  But for me, communication was an art form.

Anyway, Presidential politics was the thing I found most challenging, interesting and yes, fun.  I started with simple tasks, moved to more complicated tasks, then to political campaign strategy, and eventually to learning how to govern – but always as a political appointee.  My careers, (there were many), included teaching in high school and Assistant Professor in college, employment agent, waiter, senior political strategist and Diplomat, Director of Security for a National Political Convention. Chief of Staff at an International Government Department, and Senior VP in Communication, Public Relations and Public Affairs at USA Networks and the Syfy Channel  -- and finally  --public service entrepreneur. (Not necessarily in that order.)  However I happened to spend every day, I knew that every four years I would get involved in a Presidential campaign.  It was amazing and heady and even thrilling-- and fun.  But it was never my dream.  My dream was to produce Musical Theater.  It was just a dream that I never expected would become a reality.  But after so many, many years of academia, politics and communication strategy, I decided (as my professional swan song), to try.  No one thought I could do it.  At the end of October, there will be a staged reading of a show I wrote and am producing, Gefilte Fish Chronicles -- the Musical.  It will open at the Warner Theater in Connecticut in March as a full production. This blob is a little long, but I wanted to share a poem that reflects the way my life has been:

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done,
     But, he with a chuckle replied
That "maybe it couldn’t," but he would be one
     Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
     On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
     That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

Somebody scoffed: "Oh, you’ll never do that;
     At least no one has done it";
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat,
     And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
     Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
     That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
     There are thousands to prophesy failure;
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
     The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle it in with a bit of a grin,
     Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start to sing as you tackle the thing
     That "couldn’t be done," and you’ll do it.

We’re just Sayin’…. Iris


zpycer said...

Like. Like a lot. And break a leg!

Karen said...

I am so happy for you. Few people have the guts and tenacity to make their dreams come true! You did it!,
I love and I am so proud of you!! Hugs, Karen

Jay Carey said...

Iris, (in a whisper), I love how you write, cause you tell us all-some kind of truth, honesty. I found this blog(b) through David. He as I, a photographer of 40 some years with eyes on docu/pictor/jourla/ etc some kind of photography, but never made "it". Now I take a few photos, and am a part time teacher to autistic kids, a real, G_ _-D_ _ _ eye opener to our basic "us". So, Here's Mud in yer eye and all that-I think, I'm falling in love-so dizzy.- J