Something is different…

You know those moments in life that mark the beginning of something great, like a new idea or even a new way of thinking. You know how sometimes you don’t even realize a moment like this has actually occurred, until your cuddled on your couch, eating junk food and your mind is free of attention snagging thoughts, that you suddenly say to yourself, wow something is different. So you try your best to figure out exactly what’s different. Sometimes this takes minutes and sometimes it takes years. The reason I bring all this up is because I have recently discovered that I am not who I used to be, that I do not want the things I used to.

I’ve always had an enthusiasm for animals and since I can remember I wanted to be a veterinarian. I was the kid who was constantly getting in trouble with my parents for sneaking strays into the house. I was the kid who people would come to for all their animal related questions and concerns. In order to achieve my goal of becoming a vet, I went to an agriculture based high school and majored in biological sciences when I got to college. While I never stopped loving animals, my enthusiasm for the veterinary field just wasn’t the same the older I got.  Of course it wasn’t until I was vegging out on my couch one day that I realized that I was no longer the kid who dreamed of being a veterinarian. Having spent the better part of my young life working towards this career goal made this realization quite unwelcome.

I knew life would be so much easier if I just stuck with my original plan, so I decided to shove my new feelings about my life goals to the side and continue on. When this method failed me, I thought it would be a good idea to pinpoint the moment that triggered my change of heart so I could debunk it and hopefully return to my former self. After searching my memory at length, I came upon the moment that brought about my career doubts.

It turns out that a movie and the feelings it provoked is what’s to blame for the shift in my self. That movie is Billy Elliot. Billy is the youngest member (11 years old) of a torn family living in a quarreling mining town. Everything about Billy’s life seems to be as grey as soot covered concrete until he discovers he has a talent for dancing, namely ballet. When Billy’s ballet dance teacher realizes he is good enough to study at the prestigious Royal Ballet School in London, Billy must overcome his own, his family’s, and his town’s ideas of what it is a young man should spend his time doing.  In the end Billy gains acceptance and approval from everyone, including himself, who questioned his interests. The movie closes with a 25 year old Billy performing a magnificent jump for a scene from SwanLake and his family and dance teacher looking on from the audience in awe. Although the movie had a few tear jerking moments, of which I was able to resist, the end had me sobbing uncontrollably.

I was baffled by my reaction, especially since it was a happy ending. I was sad, happy, and confused all at once. Choosing not to uncover the reasons behind my response to the scene, I dried my eyes and went on with my business not giving the movie a second thought, little did I know my unconscious was at work. Even though I was going about life normally something had started to change in me. The more I denied the affect the movie clearly had on me the more dissatisfied I became with my career path.

Accepting this movie experience as my ah-ha moment, I am finally able to analyze its affects on me. I too am in awe of Billy’s talents. More than that, I am in awe of the way Billy overcame expectations he and everyone else placed on him, with respects of what he could and couldn’t be. Witnessing Billy’s fictional triumph stirred me to question expectations I too placed on myself.

Even though I will always be an animal lover, I do not have to abide by life decisions I made as a child and I do not think I would be disappointing the young me by not becoming a veterinarian. In fact, I think little Seuss would love to see me performing my own magnificent jump someday.

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