Part of this post has been stewing in my head for a while. Another part was put in place during last night's How I Met Your Mother. In the episode, Lilly convinces Ted to "take the leap" by not chasing his dream of being an architect (something that hasn't been working for him) and let the "universe" direct him (ie. take a teaching job at a university). Without going into it too much, my feelings are obviously mixed. On the one hand, you want Ted to follow his initial dream and succeed but you know it often doesn't work out that way. And you can't throw your life away following a path that just isn't going anywhere.
Which brings my ramblings to a more personal level. I had several dream jobs through my life. One that stuck with me for a while was "teacher" (even while doing my Master's in university the possibility of lecturing/teaching seemed like a possibility). And of course, there was the times I wanted to do something more creative (like make comic books or movies or something). The teaching thing fell apart at some point. I think the idea of imparting my knowledge in pretty much anything and influencing the next generation always stuck with me but the idea of putting up with the kids always got to me. Plus, those around me always discouraged it since there wasn't much money to be made and everyone seemed to have this idea that I should be making lots of money.
The more creative job prospects pretty much died before they even started though. Everyone around me said that only a select few actually get to make a living at it, and for every success in the various artistic fields there are so many stories of those who failed. And clearly I wasn't good enough to be one of the success stories so I would be far better off looking elsewhere for my calling. So I followed the math/science route and at the end of high school I went to the guidance counselor who suggested I had the marks to get into Computer Science and here I am. I'm definitely not making the money I guess I was "supposed to" but I have my current government job that pays me pretty well, has good benefits, and usually doesn't require much overtime. And by sticking in a research institution, I usually get to do projects I really care about and can get behind. So it's good.
But over the years I've really noticed how reluctant I am to publicly show my more artistic projects. I've been improving on this, posting stuff on DrunkDuck, the odd image here, and for friends on other sites, but I usually do so pretty reluctantly, very quietly, and with much discomfort. Every time I do so I think back to those people who said I wasn't good enough to be one of the success stories and I imagine them seeing whatever I do and saying "See, I knew he wasn't good enough."
I think that's what makes me see so much potential in media produced for the computer/internet. It's open to so many who may never have had the opportunity before. Now many of them won't be able to make a living at it but it opens up more possibilities for those still pursuing that dream. And if not, they can still put their work out there while making a living doing something else. And that's why I have so much respect for people who put themselves out there, for David Gallaher out there promoting the heck out of his High Moon series on Zuda, for Valerie D'Orazio putting her writing up on her blog for everyone to check out, for Felicia Day working so hard on the Guild, and for every other creator putting themselves out there for everyone to see. Obviously they have the talent to make it work and they haven't given up.
Okay, to sum up this post... Ah heck, I'll just tag it as "random stuff" and "ramblings", that way I don't have to sum it up, it can just be pointless. :)