Most of you reading this blog probably already know that becoming an expat was the realization of a long-held dream for me. But before this dream came true, I had another dream that I chased that didn’t turn out the way I hoped, and this week, that failed dream has been haunting me.
A few days ago, I was happily watching the season premiere of my favorite guilty pleasure American TV drama – and in the opening credits, a friend-of-a-friend was listed as Co-Executive Producer. Wow. And then I started thinking about some other friends and associates who have “hit it big” in the past couple years. Another friend from back in my Orlando days is a Co-Executive Producer on a hugely successful American sitcom. And one of my oldest and dearest friends is the author of one of the most successful book and movie franchises in recent history. I do not begrudge any of these people their success. They earned it. They worked their way up and worked hard. They also happen to be fantastic writers.
This isn’t about jealousy, it’s about dreams. You see, as most of you know or have figured out by now , my other dream was to be a writer. I moved to Los Angeles with my writing partner a few years back to follow that dream. Now, we are certainly not the only writing team to move to LA and not have things work out. But what hurts me most and what has been eating at me this week is that we came so close. We were at places like Endeavor and APA and Maverick meeting in fancy conference rooms with sparkling water and cookies laid out for us. Packaging and development deals were discussed. We met directors who wanted to direct our pilots. We met actors who wanted to star in the TV shows we were creating. And the thing is, we believed what everyone was telling us because we knew we were good. Not Joss Whedon good (though interestingly enough, it was our Buffy specs that got us our first paid writing gig at Nickelodeon) but still, good.
And then it all went poof. I won’t bore anyone who doesn’t already know them with the details but suffice it to say we held on for as long as we could as this dream died a very slow death. And now, like a ghost, it haunts me. At least, sometimes.
I definitely don’t regret letting the writing dream go in order to allow my expat dream to come true. And in my job here in Ireland, I do get to write. Who knows? Maybe that dream isn’t completely dead after all, maybe it’s just been in a coma or frozen in carbonite or something. Time will tell.
I haven’t figured out if being a dreamer is a common trait for expats, though I think it might be. I do know that I’ve always been a dreamer and, more importantly, a dream chaser. I think everyone should at least have a go at making their dreams come true even if things don’t work out. As the song goes “forget regret”, right? And while I may have disappointments regarding my dreams, I certainly don’t have any regrets. I gave it my all to make them come true.
And isn’t having an unfulfilled dream better than having no dreams at all?