Editor’s note: this is a guest post from my amazing, wise, and life-loving little sister, Jordan Brandmeier!
Am I an idealist? Am I unrealistic? Am I just fooling myself? Am I romanticizing the idea of life? Should I stop being so negative and finding the problem with everything?
These are all questions I’ve had to ask myself in the last few years.
I’ve spent the last four years juggling anywhere from 4-6 jobs. I’ve spent countless weekends and nights telling my friends, “I’m working”, and “I’m too tired.” All because I have been indoctrinated with the idea that if you’re busy and have money in the bank – you’ll have nothing to worry about. Which is partially true. Although, the only reason there are no worries is because you have no time to worry.
I was on a trajectory to working 80 hours a week for as long as I could keep it up, until I took a full-time job with a production company. I was thrilled and nervous at the same time. I narrowed down to one job and unbelievably in the field that I ultimately want to have a career in. My show was put on hiatus two days before I was going to start. Long story short, I ended up moving to Chicago within two weeks to be a production coordinator on a different show. I did not see that coming. I was thrilled once again at how all of the things that I dreamed of were happening and unfolding so quickly. I was the production coordinator for a top rated show in a city that I had been dreaming would give me a second chance since I left college.
As the season went on it became more and more energetically draining for numerous reasons. I knew I loved the idea of what my life had become, but did I like the specific circumstances I was living in? I broke down. I was crying every night when I came
home, but couldn’t pin point why. I knew I had dreamed of this all my life; why wasn’t I happy? Yes, my dream did not include working at a computer for 60+ hours a week or playing the role of Switzerland in my offices’ miniature WWI reenactment, but those were small things in the scheme of what I have just accomplished.
Being 23, a lot of people will say that you have to earn the luxury of vacation days and retirement, a.k.a. the freedom to choose what you want to do (can you tell I’m rolling my eyes while writing that?)… blah, blah, blah; one more time: BLAH! I was blessed with this ONE LIFE to spread joy, peace, kindness, excitement, zest for life and love. Granted, many people can do this from behind a computer or a corporate job, but along with the blessing of this life I was given talents that I want to use outside of a cubicle. I have a talent for interacting with people and for coming up with larger than life ideas to touch millions during my short time here on Earth. When I took a step back to see why wasn’t I happy with my situation there were a lot of reasons that flooded me – some selfish and some not.
Then I stopped to think about my selfish reasons and I concluded that they aren’t selfish at all. They’re healthy and exactly what the world needs. The fact that I want to have time to myself without outside stresses to relax, that I want to have full days off to enjoy a bike ride or a book or whatever I feel like doing that day – doesn’t make me selfish, it makes me sane. It makes me a more balanced and productive member of our society.
Why do I have to earn the right to be a part of productions that I believe in? I understand I may have to wade through some crumby things to get there, but I don’t have to commit two years of time and energy to the crumby thing, so that I can feel like I’ve earned my right to put some of my energy towards something that will make a difference in the world and that I’m passionate about.
This experience has given me a lot. It’s shown me how much I am capable of, both on a professional level and a personal and emotional level. If I had the choice to do over again, I would be sitting here in the exact same spot, no questions asked. This was an absolute blessing- no disguises. I have learned that I am capable of the title and status, but that’s not what I’ve been searching for. I have learned a lot of logistics and procedures that will help me when I’m helping to produce live music events around the world, and I have learned that I am capable of independence – which was always a doubt and fear of mine.
When I look back at my life, whether it’s 5 years or 50 years from now, I want to know that I have made a difference in the world, I want to have produced major live events, I want to have a passport filled with stamps, I want to have a million pictures with family and friends, I want to be able to look back and say, “Wow, that was such an amazing time!” I want all of these things now, not once I’ve earned my 80 hours of vacation days at the end of the year. Can the same motivational quotes for working out be applied to your job?
“Don’t wait until tomorrow to do what you said you would do today.”
Take the first step today. What’s the worst that could happen? A little closer to where your soul is guiding you to… that’s what. You can always turn around, but I’ll bet you once you get a taste of what your heart and soul has been craving you won’t want to give it up.
I don’t think I’m an unrealistic or a pessimist. I definitely don’t think I’m fooling myself. I think I have been fooling myself by believing that I could fit into the mold of this corporate world and I would be satisfied just by seeing the name and title on the credits or on my resume. I think the fact that I have found something wrong with each situation is my soul and guides telling me, “you’re on the right path, but there are some adjustments you have to make before you get to the goal – you need to know who you are and what you won’t accept.”
What I won’t accept is anything less than pure happiness, adventure, excitement of the unknown, chasing dreams, feeling loved and enlightened. I’m by no means narrowing my idea of the perfect life, but I am narrowing the feeling of perfection and I’m not willing to settle for anything less.