Not The Destination
Lately I’ve been thinking about all the years I spent pursuing acting.
All the money and time I invested in that dream.
And how one day, after a lot of thinking and a lot of therapy bills, I just stopped. I woke up and made the decision to leave all of that work behind for something new – something I wanted more.
Sometimes it’s hard to think about those years because I start to wonder what they were all for. Did I leave my family and friends and move across the country for nothing? Did I work countless dead-end jobs for a dream that I was just going to give up?
Jason asked me recently if I regretted all those years.
My initial answer was yes, of course. Whoever said, “It is the journey that matters, not the destination” has never served pasta to egotistical celebrities who liked to call her “sweet cheeks.”
If I had figured out what I wanted to do sooner maybe I could have also avoided that year I spent selling organic diapers to rich moms.
Or selling my bike to pay the rent.
Or enduring the acting class in which I was told I “wasn’t pretty enough not to try.”
If I wasn’t going to be a successful actor, hadn’t all that struggle been for nothing?
When I was in fourth grade we had a Halloween party at school. Most of the girls were going to dress as a witch or a princess but I secretly wanted to dress as the decidedly less popular choice of “Animal Trainer.”
After a few days of debating I finally slung a stuffed koala over my shoulder, buttoned up my khaki shirt, and walked into that party with my head held high. I was following my nerdy little heart back then and that’s what I’ve tried to do ever since.
So from that perspective – no. Those years were not wasted because the whole time I was being true to who I was.
Through every encounter and odd job and audition I was building skills. I had to marinate in life a little and give something all I had before I could let myself realize I wanted to be a writer.
It was a ladder, a step-by-step process and I couldn’t have skipped any steps.
If you are currently rolling your eyes at my “lessons learned” musings, don’t worry. I don’t have it all figured out. Just the other day I cried all the way home from work because, as I explained to my husband through snotty-nose sobs, “Sometimes I just feel lost, you know?”
Most of the stories I tell through writing are about things that happened to me these last eight years. Where would I be without them?
And while yes, it can be a bit of a blow to your ego when you are a thirty-something assistant hustling to get lunches for her bosses, I wouldn’t change it.
The years I spent pursuing acting were important in shaping the person and the writer I am today.
In the end, it’s really the journey that matters, not the desti...
I hate that it makes sense.
This piece was originally written for the Fargo Forum. You can find them (and me) here.