Choose Your Own Adventure

Chasing a dream is exhausting. It can feel like a marathon some days. Sometimes you hit the proverbial brick wall. Sometimes you stop for a second and wonder what all the chasing is for. I wonder if I am getting to where I set out to go.

With careers that are non-linear, trying to create and measure benchmarks is challenging. Often the path we thought would take us to our goal, ends up looking so different than when we set out. I often think of my career as a choose your own adventure novel. Those of my vintage should remember these. You could make a choice and it would send you down a different path than a different choice. Sometimes it would end the novel. Sometimes it would send you on an extended journey. This is not unlike dance. Making a choice could open up a door to an unexpected path that leads to a career changing and lengthening experience. Another choice could open a door that takes you to an unexpected career ending experience.

How do you keep on track of what you are looking for and not end up choosing the career ending door? There is no crystal ball in dance. One dancer’s journey will be so different than another dancer’s. One career building move for one could be a career ending move for another. We all have different personalities. We have different looks. We have different facility in our bodies. What one choreographer loves about me, he or she may abhor in you and vice versa. This is out of your control.

I like to take the time to step back at least a few times per year and evaluate where I have come from. Keeping notes on where I was say three months prior allows me to go back and see where my head was at. This can allow me to see if I am on track. Dance is often not a career that you can set definite goals in. There are so many factors at play that are out of your control. Such is life.

I used to be the consummate planner. The one who made everything she wanted happen.  These days, I find it better to be an observer on this journey. I can do my best which is putting my full effort forth every chance I get. Beyond that, someone else often holds the cards and they are hard to read. This is okay. This is a fact of dance and life that has to be accepted. The more your can just be in your career, the more things will just fall into place. If you push, you will seek disappointment frequently.

Dance is a fickle game and it can be a challenge to navigate. That is part of the fun and has to be a means to strengthen your resolve to keep plodding forward. Every set back is an opportunity to learn about the industry, yourself, and your career. When you get knocked to the ground, take a moment to lie there and absorb what happened. Absorb how you got there. Observe what happens next and let it unfold. It will surprise you.

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