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Today marks the last weekend I will (theoretically) ever work at a movie theatre.  Of course this is the third time I’ve quit said job, but this time it feels like it’s for real.

I’ve worked for the same chain of theatres for the better part of 12 years — since I was 16 years old.  I used to love it, especially getting to build”and project 35mm film back when that still existed, but I realized long ago that the job is not what I want to do for my entire life. As a result and as I alluded to earlier, I’ve left and come back before.

Each time I quit it's with some goal or dream in mind.  The last time it was to pursue something in the entertainment industry, the key problematic word there being "something."  Without much of a plan to become a writer I ended up getting by as an extra. After realizing that being an extra wasn’t a steady or lucrative profession, I reapplied and came back to the theatre part time (which also meant taking a demotion from the salaried position I used to hold).

This time I have a realistic plan in place and I'm leaving because my dreams of being paid to write seem to be coming true.  Even if I'm not going to be writing screenplays any time soon, I'm still doing something I love as I work towards my ultimate goals.

We as Disney fans are, by nature, dreamers. It’s a trait instilled in us through the films, songs and Walt Disney quotes.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing but sometimes I feel Disney lyrics should really come with disclaimers and qualifiers:

— “Everything your heart desires will come to you {assuming you have reasonable expectations to begin with}.”

—“No matter how your heart is grieving if you keep on believing the dream that you wish will come true {with some hard work and application of skills}.”

—”If we can dream then we can do it, yes we can {if we’re clever and talented enough}.”

IMG_1818This isn’t to say that Disney hasn’t hinted as this reality somewhat as of late.  For example, The Princess and the Frog taunt us we need to “Dig a Little Deeper” and that you don’t always get what you want but you get what you need... or was that The Rolling Stones? Then Monsters University shed light on the harsh reality that just because you want to do something doesn’t mean you’re meant to do it.  But wait, Mike’s dream was to be a scarer and he tried really hard and he just fails?!

Any motivational speaker will tell you that failure is an important step in succeeding. Heck even Walt had his fair share of failures.  Sometimes failures come as no fault of our own, but sometimes we have to swallow our pride and admit we were wrong.

Going back to the theatre after nearly a year away last time meant confronting the fact that my plans weren’t going as I had hoped and that dreams don’t just come true overnight.  I’ve spent the time that I’ve been back building a new plan, taking baby steps and doing what I can to ensure that this time I won’t have to go back.  But, then again, if I have to I have to and I then I’ll head back to the drawing board to give my dreams another shot.

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While I may seem down on the notion of Disney magic and pixie dust, I have to say my Disney fandom does inspire me to take these risks.  Even though I know it’s not as simple as they sometimes make it seem, I’m still motivated by those Disney classics no matter how cheesy they are. Those same films, songs and Walt Disney quotes help me to persevere since, at the end of the day, it’s easier to give up and do something you’re not as happy doing than it is to continue chasing your dreams.

Instead of one of the many Disney quotes I could use to sum up my thoughts on this point and next chapter of my life, a quote I think of often actually comes from Up In the Air (making its second appearance on this blog so far).  In the film, George Clooney’s character Ryan Bingham asks an employee he’s laying off, “How much did they first pay you to give up on your dreams?...And when were you going to stop and come back and do what makes you happy?”

I’ve asked myself that question many times and today I’ve decided to answer it.