Is it your 30s that make you question every move you’ve ever made or is it just being an adult? Because either way, if Neverland is real, can someone let me know where the nearest fairy is at so I can score some pixie dust and move on out?
I made Lincoln play this questions game on Valentine’s Day at dinner. I asked him just a series of general questions in quick succession: Where do you want to live if you could live any where? What would your job be? What does your house look like? Then he asked me. My answers were mostly the same as his but the first question surprised me. He asked me if I could do anything what would it be.
I said save animals.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this answer. I’ve been Snow White since I was a kid; loving each and every creature and wanting to adopt them all. I guess I wasn’t surprised I said it, just that it came first before saying acting. I did want to be a vet when I was a kid but bailed because science is hard, guys. In my head, when he asked me that question, I saw a big farmhouse with a ton of animals, all kinds of animals, that needed help and rehabilitation and foster care to find loving home. I had cows from dairy farms and foxes from fur farms. Cats, dogs, birds. And I was giving them a home.
I called stepping away from the business of acting a hiatus in a blog from last May. It’s slowly evolved into something more than just a break from it all. I am more and more falling for the idea of making my own work with our production company than auditioning regionally. The thought of working a film festival circuit and having a hit webseries appeals to me more now than the guest spot on Law and Order I was always striving for. And that surprises me. I am not fully comfortable with it. I still feel guilty that I haven’t been looking at Backstage for auditions and feeling like I need to be getting out there. I need to try and pop into NYC for auditions like I said I would and use that Equity Member Portal (I’ve heard the horror tales, don’t worry). I need to get casting notices for films being shot in Boston. I need new headshots. I need to prove I can achieve this dream otherwise I don’t matter.
I need, I need, I need.
I’m done with being told what I need.
What I like is making shit with my friends on the weekend.
I like coming up with sketches and filming them. I like auditioning when something pops up that is convenient and I want to be involved. I like working with my friends who ask me to be in their films. I like performing improv. I like doing the things I like to do.
I still feel like I am betraying myself a bit. I had this dream and it has changed slightly and I can’t seem to let it go. It is like I have imaginary voices in my head telling me I am failing yet not one person is telling me that in real life. Who do I think is watching me, waiting for me to totally fail and stop acting forever and say to themselves “Ha! I knew she’d never succeed as an actor!” ? No one. Lately I’ve done better at not comparing my journey with any one else’s. I am learning to focus on myself and what I need and distancing myself from the expectations of my chosen career therefore not worry about how I compare to others in a different game then I am currently in. It still grabs me and sinks me down from time to time but I am resisting more when it arrives.
Leaving the city, I wanted to get back to myself and why I wanted to be an actor in the first place. It now feels that it is more than that. I am finding new things about myself, new paths I want to explore, new skills I want to craft. I was set in my career trajectory and what I wanted to do and how I was going to do it. Now I find myself attempting to release my tightly clenched fingers from grasping it so desperately and reach out for something…else. I feel I am so close to figuring that part out but not there yet.
I am blessed to be surrounded by so many clever people who have created baby empires that they live off of. They take what they love, what they are great at, and form it into a business and are fucking thriving. Friends who are life coaches and help women love themselves for who they are. Friends who are artists and Etsy is their kingdom. Even people I don’t know like heroine, Erin O’Sullivan, who started Susie’s Senior Dogs that helps older dogs get adopted and her genius partner, Brandon Stanton, who created Humans of New York. What simple, perfect ideas that are changing the world and in most cases, paying the bills. I love it. I want it. WHAT it is…I don’t know.
Am I alone here? Is this what happens in our 30s? I don’t feel lost. At least not in this moment. I feel frustrated I am still doing jobs I think of as temporary. I always feel like, sitting at my desk, this job could end any day and I would say “Okay, onto the next!” without another thought. I don’t want to live that way. I feel energized that I know something is out there, just within reach, and it’s coming into view any minute now.
I want a piece of land. I want a modest house with a wrap around porch. I want woods somewhere on this land, even just a touch of them in the backyard. And maybe a barn. With animals that shelters need to find a place to keep or that need rehabilitation or that just need a home. I want to spread Disney magic. Maybe it isn’t specifically Disney. Maybe it is starting this princess party business I keep saying I am going to start. Maybe it’s telling great stories in a book. Maybe it’s our movies. I want our production company to still do what it is doing: we make movies on the weekends and it would be nice to play at Sundance or SXSW in a perfect world. Now someone come up with a job that encompasses all of those things and tell me what it is! Please.
I suppose it comes from the place we all get to where we turn a certain age (I am 22 forever) and think “How did I get here?” I question steps I’ve taken often and wonder if I changed any of them, would I be in the same place I am now? If I could dance with rhythm, would I be a musical theater actor on Broadway? If I had found a good agent, would I have a TV show? If I went to college for something other than acting, what would my job be? Where would I live? What if I did LA instead of NY? What if I never left Vermont? Okay, this is exhausting.
All that doesn’t matter because I didn’t do any of that. I am here and now and the steps I’ve taken, I’ve taken. I do know that I have other dreams I am thinking of. I know that there are holes in my life I want to fill. I know I am not at my peak happiness. I’ve seen it, I’ve tasted it. It was working for Disney on Broadway with the best team imaginable. It was living off acting the few times I was able to. It was modeling in Europe and being paid to do so and going on adventures with my husband. It was watching our rescue cats all open up, fall in love with us and become the little weirdos they are. Cleo was so quiet when we got her and now she won’t stop mewing like a broken squeaky toy.
Maybe this blog is a little redundant from the other but I feel like this is the next part of the journey. This is discovering new ways to be happy and letting go of feeling like I failed. I feel good. I feel like a map is slowly unfolding. Like any minute, the light bulb will come on and I will somehow have cocktailed everything I love into one job and look, I made a hat.