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Don’t hold back, jump in and make a mess

An ode to dreamers: Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in La La Land

I went to see La La Land at the cinema last week and it struck a chord — well, several, it being a musical and all.

Nostalgia, firstly. That was my LA experience — when I went out there at 21 and worked in the film industry for two years. Mine and every other young hopeful’s I imagine ... (which is why Hollywood loves it so much). Just in technicolour, with slightly more synchronised dancing and fancier garden parties than I ever attended.

And of course, minus the wherewithal to write my own happy ending.

Part of me is still waiting for that casting director to call.

And each song and dance number in it sang to the foolish dreamer in me ... the part of me that knows it’s not wrong to still believe.

I was filled with gratitude and awe, with only a slight tinge of jealousy, for the dreamers still there; those passion-followers who create and delight us and make movies like this, which remind me of everything I love about cinema.

But the film shows the price of living that passion: the dedication, the time, the rejection, the thick skin it takes, the courage, the sacrifices and the heartbreaks.

And the multitude of possibilities: that each of our decisions leads us down a different path and in alternate realities there could be several versions of a happy ending — we just need to pick one.

In picking one, we have to come to terms with sacrificing the others. Realising if we live fully and truly and passionately in the one that we pick, we will at least be satisfied, which is surely the foundation for happiness.

But I have an aching heart today. It seems crazy but I’m not sure I’m fully committed to the ending I’ve picked. Did I pick it? Or just stumble down it.

I’m still half-hoping to find myself on that other road, the dusty canyon pass I used to drive to Sunset Boulevard. Who’s to say my current route might not meet up with it again one day? Fingers crossed I’m not at the ending yet.

But hope as I might, I won’t end up there unless I put in the effort, direct it, throw my current path in the way of that other.

The painful thing about being a dreamer is, to make those dreams a reality you have to do it yourself. It’s your dream — no one can serve it up to you. Carving and cutting out your own road can be hard, brutal work. And you must choose if it’s really worth it to you.

If it is, then I guess you keep finding the courage and the stamina and the conviction in your dream to keep making it happen, against the odds, despite the critics, in the face of logic and certainty and safety. I suppose one day, if you keep plugging away you get traction, others start to see the shimmering gold that you have known all along. Or they don’t and you die trying, hopefully still satisfied and comforted in the knowledge that you gave it your best.

Or you choose a different path, pack that dream in a box on a shelf, take-up another dream that fills your heart, face a different kind of struggle and face it fiercely. Perhaps still feel nostalgic for the dreams not followed but recognise you are living your happy-ending journey.

Just don’t chicken out! Don’t sit on the sidelines or slope away when it starts to get heated. The first hurdle isn’t a sign to quit. If you’re done holding the towel, throw it in boldly, don’t just let it slip through your fingers. Regret and “what if” lay down that cowardly slip road, and their poison can creep in to kill all the good around them.

This is my advice to myself: look at the decisions you’re making and choose the road you are really willing to travel down.

If you’re a dreamer, dream. But dream and do and whatever you do, do it deliberately. Jump in and make a mess.

Quote from the film:

“Here’s to the ones who dream

Foolish as they may seem

Here’s to the hearts that ache

Here’s to the mess we make”

Julia Pitt is a trained Success Coach and certified NLP practitioner on the team at Benedict Associates. For further information contact Julia on (441)705-7488, www.juliapittcoaching.com