Many things have changed over the years, but one thing has always remained constant. I love New York City and I have always thought that I would end up there eventually. There has never been a clear path to this goal, but the thought was always there. Waiting. Running in the background of every decision I have made. Each step has been a step in the direction of NYC.
For the first 21 years of my life I believed that music would get me there. Singing was my ticket in and I would use my talent to carve out a life in the city. What I did not count on was the fact that I have an innate laziness when it comes to keeping up with things such as musical ability. I also did not believe that I could do it, so that stunted my attempts. My threshold for criticism was low and my understanding of my own talent was lacking. To put it another way, I was afraid. Music is all about being judged and I was terribly fearful of not being the best. Although I put forth a pretty laid back attitude, I am a perfectionist and because of this need to be perfect I had a lot of trouble hearing otherwise. Especially in situations where I could hear that others were not up to par but still got parts over me. Musical theatre is a game and the most important part of playing is to know people. If you do not have contacts you can be the best singer in the world and you will never get beyond the open calls. Callbacks are pipe dreams for people without connections.
From the ages of 22-38 I believed that it was more important to save money than to try and go to the city. I thought that once I got out of debt and I was living comfortably an opportunity would present itself. This does not happen. If you want something badly enough you have to go out and grab it. So I languished in Buffalo, moving from job to job thinking that each career move was getting me closer to my goal. During this time I also married the writer and we started discussing what our future would look like, together. At the time of our marriage, he was not too keen on moving anywhere larger than the size of Buffalo, but this was before the trip.
This is where the title comes in. There is a before the trip life and an after the trip life. Before the trip, the writer and I were moving in a direction of a mortgage, two cars paid off, minimal debt, and a possible future adopted family. After the trip we are moving toward the city and all that it entails. Some of the before things could happen, but some will be set aside to make the city happen. This is necessary and makes us both extremely happy. Now that we are in our after trip lives we can see clearly why the city is really the only option. This is giving us the courage and conviction to make it work at any cost.
Here are a few of the before and afters that are really propelling us forward today:
Before the trip the writer had no idea what the city was like.
After the trip he is in love with the city and what it has to offer.
Before the trip our daily work lives were long and arduous.
After the trip daily work is all in the grand scheme of an eventual, mapped out goal, making it easier to get up in the morning and go to the temporary jobs we are currently in. Of course there are still days when we want to throw in the towel, but being that it is after the trip it makes it easier to push through knowing that it will all be worth it in the end.
Before the trip living in the city seemed like a dream that was unattainable.
After the trip living in the city seems less daunting. With hard work and perseverance any dream can come true.
Before the trip the standard conversation had by many WNY residents was believable. The negativity and naysaying was easy to buy into.
After the trip these conversations are more clear. They are ways to stifle those that want to fly free. They are ways to ‘prove’ that moving anywhere, not just the city, is unattainable, but they are wrong. With hard work, perseverance, and a plan, anything is, indeed, possible.
We will prove them wrong. We will make it work. The alternative is a life of languishing in Buffalo, or some other steel town, until death. Not happy. Not true. Not what we want. We will not let the negativity keep us down or hold us back. We are on our way, so watch out!
What do you come up against when trying to map out your dreams? Let me know in the comments below!
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