The “La La Land” Message: Live Your Own Life

“La La Land” can take home 100 trophies this awards season, but it won’t matter much to me. For a young writer, the film resounded far too much to be measured in gold awards.

Ever since we met, a colleague and friend of mine has been comparing the plight of the struggling actor/musician/entertainer in Hollywood to the one we have been facing trying to ‘make it’ in Manhattan. While I sort of saw the comparison, it really wasn’t until I saw “La La Land” that I felt similarly.

For those of us in artistic fields, there is a constant battle raging within us. Do I continue to bang my head against the wall as an artist or seemingly ‘sell out’ for a secure job with a salary that will pay for the cost of living in New York? Since joining the full-time workforce in 2013, I have leaned both ways.

There have been months when I lived on unstable contract writing paychecks, living the dream writing about what I am passionate about, but rooted in a reality that included no foreseeable future with my employer. I also spent a year doing what I thought might give me a better life — working in a cubicle in the office of a financial services company. For a couple of months, I felt like I was making the mature decision in finding something stable that utilized my skills as a writer, but didn’t solely rely on them to generate money via web traffic (as many of my contract writing positions did).

Unfortunately, I discovered that the ‘mature’ decision to take that job was both unfulfilling and, surprisingly, unstable.

While it isn’t easy right now, I now understand that doing what’s right by me, and not what I think is expected of me, is the learned path.

In “La La Land,” the story of two young adults facing this dilemma was just another reminder: what good is life if you can’t truly enjoy it?

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