Jump They Say
A good friend of mine sent me an inspiring video by Steve Harvey (of all people) telling his audience after an episode of Family Feud to make the jump. To expand on that, he was essentially telling the crowd to stop coming up with excuses, and leave a job they’re miserable out and take the leap toward something they believe in – something they’ve dreamed of. Yes, it was a “follow your dreams” and screw the rest kind of deal. It moved me though. About a week later, movie “it” star Chris Pratt, who I’d loved on Parks and Recreation from day one, posted something similar on his Instagram page. He spoke of filming back-to-back films and how it didn’t feel like work. He spoke of living off sardines as he pursued his own dream of becoming a successful actor. Similar to Harvey, he told his followers (non-social media folk, I don’t mean that in a cult sort of way) to hold onto their dreams, to never give up, and your dreams will come up.
The sentiment continued at this past weekend’s SAG Awards. Winners Queen Latifah and Uzo Aduba echoed a similar sentiment: don’t give up, keep grinding… dreams come true if you don’t give up on them. The recent back-to-back-to-back inspirational messages really struck me. I, too, have dreams. I’ve lived with Ferris Bueller the logic “Life moves pretty fast… If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it” my whole life. I’ve tried to raise my game no matter what. When I was at my first job as a local newspaper reporter, I couldn’t stop there. I freelanced movie reviews for another outlet, worked my way into press junkets and red carpets, and pushed my way into a New York Post freelance gig. It was my first dose of reality. I’d interview Colin Farrell one night, and write an item of how a turtle had a dixie cup stuck on its head the next. (That, by the way, is a true story and appeared in a town police blotter. The turtle, by the way, was on a tennis court. Figure that out.)
When I became a newspaper editor for a small Westchester County weekly newspaper chain a few years later, I continued pushing. I wanted more. I felt I had more to offer. My game plan had always been to do what I loved to do on the regular: write about pop culture for a living. So, with a void I felt from not writing as a full-time editor, I spent my nights and weekends, developing my own pop blog. I built it for years to the point I was back on red carpets, doing one-on-one interviews with celebs, and establishing myself as a pretty decent blogger. But, I burnt myself out in three years. Yet, I continued to push with that one goal in my mind: to do what I love full-time not as just a glorified hobby.
For several years, I bounced around a couple of start-ups, all the while continuing that blog, and proudly posting stories onto Huffington Post. I’ve worked full-time since 2008 as director of communications, and have enjoyed it immensely. But, I push in the hopes I can Harvey jump. I’ve written seven published pop culture books, started my own music/entertainment sessions series “A-Sides” in 2011 – something I love so dearly and want to do so regularly, and have flown out to L.A. to cover the Oscars, I’ve been in the photo pit at Madison Square Garden, and have hit the carpets of The Tony Awards numerous times. I’ve interviewed a diverse mix of talent ranging from Hulk Hogan to Danica Patrick to Meryl Streep to Alice Cooper. I’ve had musicians perform solely for me and my series. I continue to work a full-time job, while doing “A-Sides,” pitching books, and intentionally burning the candle at both ends to end up where Harvey, Pratt, Latifah, and Aduba are at… the land of dreams fulfilled. But here’s the thing, reality tells me not to jump. I’ve made literally no money from blogging and just a few bucks writing books.
I have a wife, two kids, a mortgage, bills, and college loans. How can I jump when there’s reality? How can I take the plunge when the real world tells me not to? As I approach 40, I find myself at the same crossroads I did at 19 and 29: a land in which reality bites. How do you carry the dream forward? How do you not give up? How can you financially not give up? I will continue to push, but at what point do you just say stop? And at what point do I say the hell with it, and press “publish” on this blog post?