Friday, January 04, 2008

New Year Maniac

I generally have a huge manic burst of energy at the beginning of a new year. Sometimes I even write down personal goals or construct some brilliant essay that will change the world. This year has been a little different. I've felt spurts of excitement and mania, but nothing like I'd have over the last five years. I think it might be because I have a real job. Five years of freelancing and piecing together a living does things to a person. When I was in LA, and my last year or two in Vegas, the new year meant that people might be looking for somebody like me to hire for their project. January was a time to get new headshots, to send out hundreds of e-mails reminding every producer, casting agent and director you know that you still exist, showing up at your agent's office to be visible, enrolling in the next session of acting classes to network and improve, working out to lose the extra five pounds, and all the new year auditions for commercials and tv.

Maybe it was the burden of marketing a product that raised my energy... it's an even stranger burden when you are your own product. There were parts I loved and parts I hated. Last year I sent out 300 e-mails - 20 people e-mailed back to let me know that I was bothering them and to never email again. One emailed back with an audition. One emailed back with a job. The thing I loved about that life was the thing I hated about that life - every single day was an adventure - unknown - anything good or bad could happen at any moment. Every phone call could change my life. It was hard on me as a husband and father - hard to not really know if I could sustain a living for my family. But it was intoxicating as an adventurer. I miss it a lot. And I don't miss it at all.

There is plenty of adventure here after all. It's just largely pre-planned adventure. More or less I can tell you what adventurous things I'll be doing next week, next month or next year. Sure, there will always be the unexpected, but the unexpected isn't an hourly reality. There's something to having a budget and a paycheck that is peaceful. Something to having meetings on my calendar for three months from now that makes my life feel safe adn grounded. I love it. And I don't love it.

The grass is always greener is a true and false statement. The grass is greener here - and there. Some people are wired to immediately desire what they don't have. That's probably a sin. Envy maybe. I've come to believe that envy is my root sin. (This from a study of the enneagram - I'm a "4" if you know what that means.) I'm so bad that I can even envy myself. Chew on that one.

I trust that a redeemed envious person becomes a peaceful content person. I've seen it slowly happen through my life. I used to envy my trash man because he knew everyday if he did his job well or not. I also envied the president for his influence, the barkeep for her community, the farmer for his simplicty, the martyr for his story. It never ends. Now I don't do that as much as I used to. Maybe this year will be the year when envy fully gives way to a life simultaneoulsy full of adventure and contentment. Maybe those two things aren't opposites as I have always believed, but two sides of the gospel coin.

I'd better go and pre-plan some adventure now...I'm teaching on Ruth and Gideon in a few weeks and maybe they'll teach me all of this stuff if I just listen to their stories....and all of sudden I feel like I might want to write that essay to change the world...


Sandy Maudlin said...

You are an inspiraton. I really appreciate what you have to say as well as how creatively you say it. Thanks.

Helen Ann said...

Grass is always greener...Yep. When I am on stage I want to be backstage. When I am backstage I want to be onstage. When I am behind the camera I want to be be in front of the camera. When I teach I want to be a student...It's crazy! Though I can't say I have envied myself. That's interesting...A little weird... ;-)