Growing up I had big dreams, and don’t we all? From ballerina to movie star to maybe even first woman President, my dreams ran the gamut. For many years I actually pursued my dreams of being a professional actress and even earned some money from acting jobs. But alas, over time I realized the life of a starving artist just wasn’t for me and I moved on.
Dreams die hard, though, and through the years my creative self has continued to bubble up in various ways. When my children were young I owned a small business franchise that offered classes for parents and their toddlers. The classes were focused on nurturing socialization and movement but also included music and dance. Leading the classes gave me an outlet for my performing skills and used my musical theater training experiences. Owning a business also taught me some real-life skills in marketing, networking, accounting and personnel development. I gained confidence and built my self-esteem in ways I never imagined during my acting days.
Once my last child was in school I decided to return to graduate school to earn a degree in journalism. I had always loved writing and finally decided to honor another long-shelved passion for the written word. I chose to focus on broadcast journalism because, again, it gave me a chance to use my performance skills. It was in grad school that my world really changed. News writing came naturally to me and for the first time I felt that my work really matched my inner self. Journalism fed my natural curiosity about the world and the things that both unite and distinguish people from all walks of life. I love telling stories and giving a voice to those unable to speak for themselves and writing and journalism continue to fulfill me.
Looking back over the years I have come to realize that each thing I pursued built on skills, interests and dreams that came before. What seemed like random changes at the time now make sense and I see my varied professional choices as logical expressions of pieces of myself. If I could give my younger self any advice it would be: “Trust yourself and honor your dreams and passions. Don’t be afraid of making a mistake.” As I think now about the next phase of my life I am encouraged and fueled by this life lesson. The things that bring us joy are worth pursuing with drive and passion. And it’s never too late to dust off an old dream and figure out how to integrate it into a mature life. What are your dreams? What are you waiting for?
Barbara Dab is a journalist, broadcast radio personality, producer and award-winning public relations consultant. She is the creator of The Peretz Project: Stories from the Shoah: Next Generation. Check it out at http://www.theperetzproject.com If you are, or someone you know is, the child of survivors of the Shoah, The Holocaust, and you would like to tell your story please leave a comment and Barbara will contact you.
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