After I graduated from college in 2005, I spent some (but perhaps not enough) time trying to figure out what I really wanted to do with my life. One of the goals that I came up with was writing game reviews for The A.V. Club. I was a long-time reader, liked their voice, and they covered all kinds of media except games. A few months or perhaps just weeks later, I was delighted and unhappy that they introduced a game review section. Delighted because, well, that's what I wanted, and unhappy because it wasn't me.
I should note at this point that I had no connection to the AV Club at that point other than being a reader, and I had no particular reason to expect that I should have been involved. I had no clip collection, I wasn't emailing anyone, making connections, or anything. I was entirely aware of this, but still somewhat disappointed.
A few years later, I was in Chicago with a part-time job when they posted the need for a part-time intern. I jumped on that, and suddenly had the connections that I'd been missing . I didn't utilize them all at once, as I got distracted by my college closing, but a few years later I started doing a bit more writing, had a decent portfolio, called in those connections, and I got my staff box with a few TV reviews. I asked into a few new things, got invited to join, and today, my dream came true: my review of the new Golden Sun: Dark Dawn is live on the site.
Now, as cool as this is, and I do smile when I think about it, it kind of shows the limits of realistic dreaming. I'm still a freelancer. This will help my finances, of course, and will certainly help my portfolio, but (and I hope this isn't a trade secret), the AV Club freelancers would have to work pretty damn hard and do a lot of writing to make a living. It's one down, and God knows how many to go.
I'm sure my slightly younger self would have realized this and wanted to follow this dream anyway. It's just that my current self recognizes this far more as a starting point for bigger and better things, and much less as the realization of a life goal. Onwards and upwards, I suppose.