Wake up and compromise

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The pursuit of dream may not be the same journey as the pursuit of happiness

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor

Happiness is not getting everything we want. Happiness is accepting what we have.

We all want glory and success. As children, we dream of our achievements as adults and all the possibilities. People will ask what we want to be when we grow up and we’ll list off all the options: actor, athlete, astronaut, doctor, etc. At some point, we need to face reality; perhaps our childhood desires are not what we want forever.

Having a dream is having a goal. When you are young you have all the potential in the world. Nothing seems impossible. You can become a doctor if you want. It’s like buying a lottery ticket, and you are anxiously awaiting the draw. You haven’t lost yet. You haven’t won either. As you grow older, you might realize that you aren’t that interested in medicine, and studying makes you sick. Pursuing a career as a doctor—not only dedicating time and money but also excelling in the programs—is likely to be torturous if that’s the case. So I ask: is it worth it for a well-paying job?

When we talk about dream jobs, we aren’t really talking about the job itself, we are talking about being successful in one particular field. The problem is that our society only shines the spotlight on certain roles, placing them on a higher pedestal than others. The CEO gets the spotlight, the lead actor gets the spotlight, the star athlete gets the spotlight, but we ignore the supporting cast. Rarely do children dream of being part of the pit crew. They want to be the driver.

We want to take our interest and transform it into a lifestyle. The problem with turning hobbies and interests into work is that we turn something we enjoy—music for example—into something tedious. Putting pressure onto anything may often destroy it. And so it goes with dreams.

We chase our dreams, but what we should do is chase our passion. Dreams are a fabrication, while our passions aren’t. Once we accept that, regardless of what we do, we’ll have to work hard, we can then hone in and identify what actually makes us happy—or not. That’s the thing about passion, it changes, and we can allow it to.

It’s not a crime to give up on your dreams. We are lucky to have an opportunity to pursue it, so don’t feel guilty. Not everyone is built to climb Mt. Everest and to be stupid enough to believe you can without the hard work is irresponsible. Dream is a finish line. Happiness is the desire to improve and seek progress. Dreams just happen. Happiness requires work. Find work that makes you happy and that may mean changing paths now.

Highlights of 2012-2014: Memories of a young writer

10261738_10100261539296113_907550627_nHere are a few of my proudest work from 2012 to 2014. Enjoy!

The art of being alone
Nothing in life is permanent
A love letter to the capital cursive G
As POF Eliminates Intimate Encounters, Ashley Madison Makes Them Easier Than Ever
The calm before the glitter storm: profile of Top Less
Got too much on your plate?
Curse those cussing kids
The boomerang generation
What is love? Baby, don’t hurt me

Flash back to 2012: It has been five years since I graduated high school and four years since I graduated film school. The momentum I had after graduation in 2008 had faded, and I was still on the perimeter of the entertainment industry.

Sure, I have successfully landed a few auditions, got myself an apprentice status in UBCP and written and directed a few short films that I couldn’t help but be proud of, but realistically I was just fooling myself into thinking that I actually wanted to climb that ladder.

First rung: I worked as a background performer. Second rung: I did two years of stand up comedy. Third rung: I acted as production assistant for multiple companies and productions for literally four days. Fourth rung: I performed in some student films. Nope, it wasn’t a stepladder I was climbing—it was a Stair Master. I was going nowhere and I needed to get off.

Bam!

It happened all in one single night. I might have been in bed, but for dramatic reasons lets have me pacing through a rainstorm. I was drenched from head to toe and the only sign that I was still alive was the streetlights illuminating the next few steps I was going to take. There in the depths of my quarter life crisis I asked myself: What do I still want to do? Acting, Directing, Standup, Kitchen Prep, Writing.

It wasn’t an epiphany—I don’t get those—it was more of a “duh!” moment. Writing was the fuel that powered all my other previous passion from directing to standup. It was something I did without ever taking credit for because it was a mean for something else. I took it for granted. And it was a bit upsetting to realize all that wasted time was for not.

I don’t know what it’s like to have a divorcé, but I do know what it was like to call it quits on a dream and start all over. I know what it was like to say bye to a childhood passion and welcome a slightly more mature (but not really) alternative.

I still wonder what I would be doing if I didn’t make that conscious choice to become a writer. But I like to think that I haven’t given up on being a filmmaker. Life, after all, is quite long—or it could be—I’m just taking another route, an elevator. And it’s one that I’m currently enjoying. A lot.

I have spent the past two years with some of the most inspiring and generous people. Attending Print Futures at Douglas College and working at the Other Press has introduced me to a world of writing I wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. It took me out of my comfort zone, introduced me to new challenges and presented me with opportunities I could not have found from the comforts of my own home. It gave me confidence and made me adventurous. Failure was inevitable, but I wasn’t doing it alone anymore. More important than my education and my skills, I now have supporters. People whom I can turn to when I mess up a line or miss a grammatical error. I’m safe now. I’m on the right path… the climb continues.

 

– Elliot Chan, April 17, 2014