Part of growing up is deciding which dreams to keep chasing. I was thinking about this last night as I watched La La Land. On the heels of it scooping up seven (7!) Golden Globes, I went in prepared to enjoy it. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, musical, banter… what’s not to like? And yes, it was magical.
I definitely did enjoy it. It also gave me a lot to think about. Because La La Land is as much about love as it is about what it takes to turn your dreams into your reality, particularly when it comes to creative aspirations. and ambitions
As each character faces their own setbacks, struggles and doubts, we witness conversations like this:
“Maybe I’m not good enough.”
“Yes, you are.”
“Maybe I’m not. It’s like a pipe dream.”
“This is the dream. It’s conflict and it’s compromise and it’s very, very exciting.”
That conversation really resonated with me. For anyone out there who is trying to create something – whether that’s a project, a process, a piece of art – there is always going to be at least one moment when you hit a substantial wall that makes you doubt yourself and your abilities. When you’ve been trying to do something for so long and you wonder if it’s time to give up. Sometimes there are valid reasons to let go of our dreams, or for our dreams to change – and that’s fine, as long as it’s a decision we make and are happy with, rather than something we passively settle for or resign ourselves to. The danger is that we let dreams slip away through a series of compromises we make, or let doubt paralyse us so much that we stop trying.
When I feel that happening to me, I look at how far I’ve come, and how far I still want to go. And although it can help to talk it through with the people who are important in my life, I know that the most important conversations are the one I have with myself. Reminding myself why I care about this, why it mattered and why it still matters to me.
Dreams and doubt are two sides of the same coin. If you didn’t care so much – well… you wouldn’t care so much, and what kind of dream would that be?
Taking something you love and making a life out of it: that is the dream.
And it is very, very exciting.