GOING THE DISTANCE

July 20, 2018

 

 

Is it just me, or does it feel like this year is flying by?

 

 

When I reach the mid-year point each year, I like to assess if I’m meeting my goals or do I need to tweak a few things.

 

This time I started to reflect on my career.  Acting is my second career.  It’s been my childhood dream; and I’ve been pursuing it for the last 16 years, after a successful 22-year marketing career in the beauty industry.

 

Has it gone the way I had hoped?  Not exactly!

 

There have been a lot of twists and turns, excitement, disappointment and many surprises along the way.

 

It really started to hit me that pursuing my dream is a marathon and not a sprint.

 

THE DREAM MARATHON

 

I’ve always been a sports enthusiast, especially tennis and baseball.

 

I marvel at the level of determination, training and sheer will it takes to be an athlete.  I scream and cheer as I watch athletes compete. 

 

My enthusiasm was off the charts when the Mets won the 1986 World Series in the 16th inning.

 

 

I was on the commuter bus from Manhattan to Brooklyn.  The driver had a big boom box so we all could listen to Game 7.

 

The Mets were ahead 4-2.  What joy!  Then, we entered the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and lost the transmission. 

 

We were in bumper-to-bumper traffic.  When the bus drove out of the tunnel, the score was tied 4-4. WHAT!  There was a collective groan by everyone listening.

 

I got home just in time to see Jessie Orosco throw the last pitch of the game!  WHAT A GAME! WHAT A WIN!

 

There are many team sports; and there are many sports that require an individual to train alone.

 

I think of the film, Breaking Away, that captured the intense training that the lead character, Dave, needed do to ready himself to compete in the story’s major bike race, The Little 500.

 

 

Yet, the sport that amazes me is the marathon.   I’m not a runner; but what strikes me is that a marathon runner is out there alone.

 

 

I can’t even imagine what it takes to train to run 26 miles.

 

Whenever I watch the Olympics, my heart goes out to the runners as they, one by one, enter the stadium to the cheering crowd.  To me, each runner looks like they are on the verge of collapse.  They’ve weathered the elements, the length of the race and the exhaustion.

 

Will power propels them over the finish line. 

 

The goal is to finish the race.

 

I believe the same is true in pursuing our dreams.

 

IF YOU CAN DREAM IT

 

 

I believe our hopes and dreams come from the very depth of our being. 

 

Dreams take time and they take work.  I don’t believe it’s possible to appreciate anything we don’t have to work for.  Nothing worthwhile comes easy.

 

Even though pursuing my dream of acting has been one of the most exhilarating and challenging things I’ve ever done, I’m thinking back on when I set my goal to get my M.B.A.

 

I earned my B.B.A. degree in marketing; but I was working as an Administrative Assistant.  I couldn’t get into marketing unless I had my M.B.A.

 

Since my career goal was marketing, I needed to go back to school to get my master’s degree. 

 

I decided to go to school at night.  I knew I would be taking on a lot, since I was working 65-70 hours per week in my full-time job; but I was able to take advantage of my company’s tuition reimbursement program.

 

For three years, I had no life.

 

I came home many nights and cried.  I had to keep pressing in and pressing on toward the prize.

 

There were many times I’ve wanted to call it quits.  It’s at those times, I’ve had to dig deep and remember…

 

 

I would get home from class at 11:00 pm three nights per week.  On the weekends, I lived in the library doing research or studying at home.

 

I struggled through many classes, namely finance, economics and statistics.

 

I remember the day I took my last final.  I got to class and took the exam.  I put down my pen and handed my final exam to the professor.

 

I was so full of emotion. It took everything I had to keep my emotions in check.

 

I took the express bus and got home at midnight. 

 

I entered my apartment, closed the door, fell on my sofa and just started to laugh and cry at the same time.  Three years of bottled up emotion came pouring out.  It felt sooooo good.

 

That morning, I put a little bottle of champagne in the refrigerator.  I felt I needed to toast my accomplishment.  I lifted my glass and said, “SALUTE!”

 

Since I don’t drink, I think that’s the best night’s sleep I ever got.

 

After all my hard work, I finally graduated; and was promoted into marketing within weeks after graduation.

 

It was a marathon; and I finished that race.

 

Now that I’m an actress, I’m running a different marathon.  The dream is different; but the principles are the same.

 

I’m keeping sight of why I started and I’m going to finish.

 

During this race, I’ve changed!  I’ve learned to be myself and express my emotions.  No more of that never let them see you sweat!

 

I’ve learned to be vulnerable and it’s freeing!

 

I’ve also learned that I need to do what’s right for me.  I spent too many years trying to please others.

 

 

This is my dream!  This is my race!  I’m running it on my terms!

 

 

 I’ve learned so much; especially…it’s never too late to go after your dreams!

 

 

                                                             Claudia DiMartino

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Claudia DiMartino is a successful business woman turned actress and playwright. She took a risk and left corporate America.  She now shares her life's journey which helped her realize - it's never too late to go after your dreams.

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