'Live a life you'd be proud to share with your 13-year-old self'

Editor's note: Cory Goodrich is a Jeff Award-winning actress for her roles as Mother in Drury Lane Oakbrook's acclaimed production of "Ragtime," and as June Carter Cash in the Jeff-nominated Johnny Cash revue, "Ring of Fire" at Mercury Theater Chicago. She is also a singer/songwriter, producer, writer, and mother of two.

What will you be when you grow up?

We are so often asked that question as a child. In our younger years, the answers are imaginative and unlimited. Superhero. Firefighting DJ. Interplanetary rock climber. As we get older our fanciful dreams change to something singular and responsible: Nurse. Engineer. Teacher. One word, one profession defines our dreams and ambitions. But I want to tell you a secret: you don't have to choose one thing. And you don't have to lose your sense of play.

As an actor, I have had the opportunity to play many different types of people, and I get a small glimpse into the lives of characters who chose a different path than I. The current production I'm working on, "Skates: A New Musical," follows the story of a 30-something who ventures back in time to visit her 13-year-old self to be reminded of who she is and from whence she came. Her younger self is thrilled to learn she's achieved her dreams despite all roadblocks, and she helps her adult self realize that sometimes we have to look back to move forward.

I've forged a path for myself as a singer/songwriter, actor, artist, author, producer and parent. I'm here to tell you that following my own inner child's dreams and longings created a rich tapestry of life from which to draw on stage. Each artistic endeavor feeds the next. Each life experience deepens the artistic experience.

I encourage you to look to your inner child, remember the passions that excited you, and know that one word alone cannot define you. Live a life you'd be proud to share with your 13-year-old self and if the pressure to choose just one road feels daunting, I urge you to go back to where you started and remember that you already hold the keys to your own happiness and success.

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