When I was 14, I wanted to be a roadie for Led Zeppelin.
Nevermind that John Bonham had died in 1980 and Jimmy Page and Robert Plant had stopped speaking to each other.
This dream wasn’t about meeting rock stars (I wound up meeting plenty – just not Page and Plant), or about travel (good thing, because all I would have seen was the inside of tour buses and auditoriums), it was about seeing how things worked behind the scenes.
Knowing WHY I wanted to pursue a particular dream allowed me to make decisions when opportunities presented themselves.
Because I was more interested in seeing how things worked behind-the-scenes, I got to operate laser shows, rig fireworks (the only job that truly frightened my parents), be a fly on the wall for society events, serve as a radio engineer and DJ, and work countless concerts, plays, and performing arts events.
I had a chance to see parts of Washington DC and Baltimore that few get to see (mostly because I was one of the few people at the lighting company I worked for in the late 1990s that could pass a background check).
The work helped pay for graduate school (both rounds), was infinitely cooler than working at the library, and helped me get my first real job out of my History studies.
I finally called it quits in 2003 as my corporate career took off.
I have no regrets about never being a roadie for Led Zeppelin.
My stagehand career was rich, fulfilling, and I wouldn’t change a thing.
I fulfilled my Why.
It also moved me towards my lifelong North Star of “being an old lady with really cool stories.”
The time spent doing stage work helped to fulfill the “cool story” part, even if I may have reduced my chances of being an “old lady” thanks to the usual assortment of environmental hazards found in those environments.