The Next Forty Years...
Cutting into my pollo con mole, sipping a spicy margarita, and listening to the thunderstorm outside, my girlfriend and I catch up on the weeks past. The conversation turns to work, and suddenly, the thunder seems much more ominous.
“I was just at brunch with someone, and they said ‘Can you believe that we’ll be working for the next forty years of our lives?’ Weird to put a number on it like that, right?” my girlfriend asked me.
“Yaaa. Oh my god. Forty years. Can you imagine doing something that you weren’t totally passionate about for that amount of time?”
“Well, things do happen and get in the way. You have to support yourself; you have to support a family if you want one. I’m sure it happens a lot and you just have to make the best of it.”
After dinner, I start to have a freak out. I can NOT spend the next forty plus years doing something that I don’t like. Nightmare, absolute nightmare. But what if I don’t have a choice?
I haven’t done a show in a couple of months, and that scares me. What if I can’t make a living out of performing? What if I can’t make a living out of doing something artistic at all? Hyperventilation ensued, and a very depressing night followed.
My depression for the night was likely a culmination of several factors that had happened over the week: several people I know booked shows or scored really excellent auditions, I was spending wayyy too much time at my restaurant day job thus going a little crazy and collapsing from exhaustion after each shift, and I wasn’t feeling that I had really accomplished what I had wanted in terms of career advancement for the week (ie not going on as many auditions as I typically like or practicing on my own as much as I should). After our little conversation I was sent over the edge into actor freak out land.
I love seeing my actor friends get booked, but if I’m not doing something, or have a potential opportunity coming down the pike, it also makes me pretty jealous. Is it possible to not compare yourself to others and measure your progress against theirs? I try not to, but I find it so, so difficult.
After some meditation and an early morning filled with hard work, my freak out subsided and I feel a lot better. Though I still wonder, how do others combat jealousy, a minor break down, or a (shameful to say) bitter feeling when you feel that you’re the only one not booking something out of all the people you know. I know these feelings can be inevitable, but I simply hate having to even deal with them from time to time. I would love to know what other people out there do to handle a small slump of their own.