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How Losing My Dad Finally Pushed Me To Go After Everything I Wanted

Life is short. We're all told this, and sure, it makes sense.

We blink, and then we realize we're in our late 20s. We're stuck wondering if we should go back to school because we just can't get the job we want, and maybe we wasted all this time doing nothing productive.

Unless you've miraculously landed your dream job right out of college, we're all in the same boat.

I know I went to one of the top film schools in the country because I knew I wanted to work in entertainment. I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do, and I spent most of my years figuring that out.

I knew if I worked hard in those four years, it would all work out eventually. I did many dream internships, hoping that could help me post-graduation. They didn't guarantee a job, but they would help me in the long run in terms of experience.

I got a job after college that I enjoyed, but it was by no means was something I wanted to do. It was in the entertainment industry, and I counted it as a good stepping off place.

I planned to work there and learn as much as I could until a better opportunity came along that brought me even closer to my dream job. I learned a lot in my time there, but I immediately felt stuck.

I was in the same position for three years. My responsibilities grew, and I was depended upon more. But, I wasn't given any ladders to climb.

I slowly found myself miserable because I wasn't given room to grow, and I felt like I was wasting my time. How am I supposed to get to the next level when no one will let me up the ladder at all?

I went from being optimistic to feeling trapped.

At the same time, I was going through a rough personal time. My dad was very sick and losing his battle with cancer.

I feel like I kind of played it safe in New York because I didn't want to fail in front of my parents. My parents gave me so much that most of what I want in life is to make them proud.

So, I found myself staying at this job, not growing at all and not leaping into the unknown because I wanted to play it safe.

I always wanted to move to Los Angeles and work for Disney. That was my dream growing up. I wanted to work for the Walt Disney Company, but I went to school on the East Coast closer to Florida, and that's where I stayed.

I knew I wanted to move out West, but I thought I would make the move once I moved up a bit more in the industry. It looked like I wasn't getting anywhere at the job I had, and by the time I got to the place I wanted to be, I would be too old to start over again in a new city.

Watching my dad struggle so much made me realize that I can't wait forever for things to happen. He was young, and he was dying. I was wondering how long I was going to get to live, so I set a date. I was going to move.

I left the job I was at for three years, packed up my things and moved to Los Angeles. I had to start new.

My dad had so many dreams. I know he wanted to go to Italy and eat real Italian pasta. He wanted to go on a Mediterranean or a Hawaiian cruise.

There were movies he wanted to see, places he wanted to go. And I know he wanted to be a grandfather. Those are all things he didn't get to do.

Some of them he just couldn't with the amount of time he was given on this Earth, but some of them he could have done. He could have gone on a cruise. He could have gone to Italy.

But, the fear of not having the money or it not being the right time kept him from going to those places.

Watching my dad leave me before I wanted him to go reminded me life is short. You don't know how long you'll get.

Even though I was nervous, scared and maybe not ready to make the leap out West, I was actually doing it.

We're all just biding our time here on Earth until our end, so we might as well make the most of it.

Isn't this why we go after our “dream jobs?” It's so we find something that makes the waiting process easier. It's to give us something to look forward to.

If you find yourself unhappy where you are right now, I want to say make a change. I know that it's scary and sometimes financially it doesn't make sense, but I can guarantee you that you will regret it if you don't at least make an effort.

If you want to go somewhere, make a plan and follow through with. Don't keep saying “next year” or “soon” because you never know if next year or soon is something you'll get.

I know I have to make an effort. I couldn't take my dad to Europe, go on a glorious Hawaiian cruise or give him the grandkids I know he surely would have spoiled.

My time with him was shorter than I wanted, but I know I can give him this one thing: I am living my dreams, I am not wasting my time and I will make him proud.

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Rachel Chapman

Staff Writer

Rachel Chapman is a graduate from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, where she majored in Film & Television. She is currently a performer at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in Los Angeles. http://www.thisisrachelchapman.co ...
Rachel Chapman is a graduate from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, where she majored in Film & Television. She is currently a performer at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in Los Angeles. http://www.thisisrachelchapman.co ...

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