Finding a career that inspires, creates joy and motivates you is an important goal shared by many. I thought I had found what would generate eternal contentment, a career that I had trained for, that was my passion, that I lived and breathed. I always admire those who chase their dreams, those who risk it all and go against the norms of society in pursuit of happiness.
I pursued a career in the performing arts because dance was my passion.
It was the only way I knew how to express myself whilst experiencing pure joy. The possibility that I would ever become successful would only ever be a bonus. The thought of ever doing anything else felt strange and untrue to who I thought I was. Standing at the turning point of coming to the end of one dream and starting another seemed daunting and at times forbidding.
I had always identified myself as a dancer and associated myself with the lifestyle that comes with that. A lifestyle of travel, passion and one of the inconsistent highs of performing on stage to the lows of endless rejection. My sense of self had always been determined by what I did and whom I had worked for. Between jobs, I would frequently ask myself if it was all worth it. Unexpectedly I would somehow be pulled from the anguish of scrambling for rent money with the opportunity to join a production with a contract waiting to be signed.
I was offered to join the cast of The House of Dancing Water by Franco Dragone as an Acrobat/Dancer. To join a cast and crew who devoted themselves to putting together a production daily like no other was an enormous privilege. Performing on stage to thousands of spectators on a regular basis was a dream come true, however, as time went by I noticed a change within myself. At first it seemed unclear, nevertheless, I could see that I began to no longer experience the satisfaction of performing on stage. I gradually could sense that the dream that had once filled me up with purpose had come to an end and the longing to experience a life away from the stage started to become a reality.
Transitioning careers is never an easy decision, especially when you identify who you are with your profession. I had to rediscover who I was away from dance and I gently uncovered that I was drawn to a life helping others.
As I embarked on my journey into a vocation of nursing I had to take a step back and distance myself from dance. They say that with any loss comes a sense of grief and that has been true for me. To let go of an industry that I thought would always be a part of my life has been challenging. I have faced numerous junctions where the thought of moving on from chasing my once loved dream felt like giving up. The longer I held onto this belief the more guilt I experienced within myself and there has been immense freedom in being able to let go of this way of thinking.
As time has passed I can now appreciate the stage as an audience member without wondering “what if I had stayed”. Life has presented me with new opportunities to grow and I am once again filled with a purpose in a career which is extremely rewarding. Every experience is valuable and I have come to realise the dancer who I once identified with will always remain a part of who I am.
Editors Note: Tim left performing and returned to Australia to complete a Diploma of Nursing on a full scholarship with NSW Health. Currently, Tim works as an Endorsed Enrolled Nurse at Concord Repatriation General Hospital. Tim is undertaking a 2-year conversion course at University of Technology Sydney (UTS) to become a Registered Nurse.