by Kenneth Justice
~ “I left Hollywood and the hope of furthering my career as an actor to come back home for my parents” he said.
One of my really close coffee house friends works in the entertainment business. Throughout most of the 19990’s he was an actor working in Hollywood and got parts in more than a dozen major films. He knows the people you and I watch in the movies on a first-name basis…..he knows a lot of them. Some of the films he starred in were big-budget films and the movie studios paid to fly him to various parts of South America, Europe, and across the United States.
At one of the local theaters near my house there is a 20-foot mural of my friend…..and around certain parts he’s a larger-than-life person…..but he’s very humble. In fact, for the first year or so that we had coffee together I didn’t even know who he was. We would talk about life, love, music we enjoy, and all the other stuff that people talk about at coffee………
And then one day he said something that made me realize I didn’t really know what he did for a living…….
But it’s not all the musicians, rock stars, and A-list Hollywood actresses and actors that my friend knows which impresses me the most; it’s that he gave it all up for his parents.
“The reason I moved back to Detroit is that my parents are very elderly…..they need me to take care of them. I actually still own a house back in Hollywood but I haven’t been there in years….and I may never make it back at this point” he said
For many of us, giving up our dreams in order to move back in with our elderly parents seems like a big mistake. “Why not just hire a live-in nurse to take care of them” many of us might ask. For my friend, there never was a question of ‘if’ he would move back home…..it was a given; of course he would do it. My friend’s concept of family is that you take care of your loved ones and don’t hire other people to take do what you can do.
To be honest, I don’t really know what I think about the whole situation. On the one hand I admire the love and devotion this son has for his parents…..yet on the other hand I wonder how many parents would really want their children to sacrifice their dreams simply to come home and take care of them; I’m sure many parents might tell their adult children to not worry, “go pursue your dreams“.
Sometimes I wonder if perhaps we in the Western World put too much stock and emphasis on ‘pursuing our dreams’. What does that really mean anyways? Have you ever noticed how many high school athletes have dreams of getting a college scholarship to play a particular sport and how many young adults have dreams of making it to the big time and playing professional soccer, football, basketball, or fill-in-the-blank?
—-) In one study 59% of high school athletes said they believed they would get a college scholarship via their sport; yet the reality is that 98 out of 100 high school athletes never play college sports.
—-) Even more disproportionate is the number of high school athletes that will actually make it to playing professional sports; only 1 in 16,000!
Numerous psychological studies have been released in the past couple years that have been finding the disproportionate number of young adults who have unrealistic goals and ideas of the world. More than ever, young adults are growing up with their head in the clouds and this has led many sociologists to labeling this era of young people as “Generation Me“.
While I’m sure every generation throughout history has struggled with certain elements of narcissism and too much focus on self; I wonder if their is truth in the idiom that young adults today are simply not living in the reality of the world; perhaps they are too focused on dreams, too focused on unrealistic fantasies, and too focused on impossible to meet expectations. I’m not sure what I think on the topic….but I’m still reading.
For my coffee house friend; he had actually already arrived to one of his dreams; he’d made the right connections and starred in numerous Hollywood films…..yet he still gave it up for his parents. Although, perhaps that is what made it easier for him; he had already accomplished a minor part of his goal so he isn’t left wondering ‘if he could do it’….because he knows that, even if in a small way ‘he did it’.
Spending my time in Costa Rica this past month gave me a lot of time to think about dreams and goals. It was my fourth trip to Central America and for many years it was a dream of mine to live there one day…….and while I would still love to spend more time there; I’m starting to wonder if I’ve spent too much time dreaming about ‘what could be’…..and not enough time simply living in the here-and-now.
Just a few thoughts this morning as I sip my morning coffee,
Dates and locations for my next stops in Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, Madison, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, and more are available via this link
Categories: Culture & Society