Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Revolutionary Adventure

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Last night as the Mister and I were getting into bed, I just had a moment of utter despair. It's been creeping up on me. It happens every once in a while: that I reach this boiling point. The point where I can no longer deny my disappointment in myself any longer.

Let's blame the Olympics this time. For the past week I've been sitting on my butt watching hours of NBC coverage on the world's youngest, fastest, fittest, strongest, and most medaled men and women. And here I am, at an aging 27 years, I'm "technically" unemployed, I only have an undergraduate degree, I've done nothing to significantly impact the world, I won't be in anyone's history books, and what's worst... I don't know what I want to do with my life.

In fact, I can't say that I've ever known what I want to do with my life with any real certainty. The first three years of my university studies I spent threatening to switch majors. It wasn't until the fourth year I finally committed. And that year was the best, hands down, without a doubt. I felt like I was on fire. So let's examine the phrase: "what to do with my life." Every day I am really "doing" my life. I am waking, eating, sleeping, repeating day after day after day. But, I'm aspiring to greatness and knowledge without striving for it. I'm expecting results without effort or commitment. I'm wallowing.

In the end, for all four years I studied Theatre in college (a useful degree these days). A complicated concept for a young actor to understand when creating a character is that, unlike what you would image, it's less believable to just "BE" the character and more believable to "DO" what that character would do in any given circumstance. You can't "BE" something just by thinking about it and wishing for it, but you can study and memorize and "DO" all the things that character would do, in order to bring them to life. It is the more active choice, and from the audience's standpoint, action is what it's all about. It's also the harder choice, the one that requires the most work on the actor's part.  If I want to become something, or become someone different than who I am now, I'm going to have to start DOing all those things that person would do.  I can't expect to just become someone over night.  It's going to take time and study, and a lot of hard work.

I have always envied people who seemed so passionate about what they were pursuing. I had so many different interests and ideals for myself, it always seemed like I could never focus in on one long enough to become really, really good at it or to fall completely in love. I always feel like there is a higher calling, something more important that I should be doing all the days of my life, and therefore I always have a difficult time committing to the present. I have no clue what that calling is, but I hear it.  What am I waiting for?

So in my despair last night, I unloaded on my Husband my fears, my desperation for a meaningful life. And the Husband, in all his wisdom, said, "It's cheesy, but I have to say it here: carpe diem! There's no better time. Just do some of those things you want to do, don't be afraid of them, just commit until you can't commit anymore. It doesn't matter if you start the book you've always wanted to write and don't finish it, you'll have learned something about yourself in the process. And you won't regret that you never tried, years from now."

As we both turned to go to sleep, I thought: "Yes, when did I get so DOMESTICATED? So lazy? So uninspired." My final paper in my senior Theatre History class was to write my Personal Philosophy of Theatre. The word I used the most?

Revolutionary.

I wanted to revolutionize the world of theatre. I had big dreams, and I wasn't ashamed of them and I didn't spend time doubting myself. When I quit acting professionally in 2010, I never found something else that made me feel like I was fighting wildly artistic battles with the world every day. I lost that sense of creative empowerment. I think I stopped having inspired FUN.

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These guys. These guys make chocolate in Brooklyn. They are dedicating their lives to making the best chocolate in the world. In the bigger scheme, (despite many suggestions to the contrary) chocolate won't save the world. It won't stop human trafficking. It can't sustain a hungry nation. But chocolate pretty much universally makes people happy. It's delicious, delicate, flavorful, and fun. These guys have fun making their chocolate. Something as simple as chocolate provides them the inspiration to continually follow their curiosity, to explore new concepts, and imagine new projects.

I want you to watch this video before you read any further. (I know, I'm not done yet...) I don't know about you, but this short documentary made me a little teary. In a joyful way. In a "YES, that is so RIGHT!" sorta way. Plus the chocolate looks amazing and the beards are fantastic.



I have a point. Amidst the talk of revolutionary theatre and cacao beans, I do have a point. And I'm sorry. I tried to make this post structured and clean, but there's absolutely nothing structured or clean about art. Art is messy. Messy and fun. At some point I stopped being able to make mistakes, or to laugh at myself and cut my losses and start over. I need to do that again. I need to reconnect with my curiosity. You know, join the revolution. Wherever that takes me. 

THE POINT, is that it doesn't have to be world peace, four PhDs, or an Olympic medal. It can be planning someone's wedding. It can be writing a novel that never gets read. It can be chocolate. Your life just needs to be your own adventure.


"Any idea that makes us nervous or scared that it won't happen, 
we know that we're definitely on to something . . .  
Make it an adventure."


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