There are 168 hours in a week, 730 hours in a month, and 8760 in a year, and most actors spend the majority of those hours stressing about a career they may not even have yet. Listen, I get it. You feel you have to spend time trying to create work with your friends so that you can build a solid reel, then you’ve got to shop that reel around to any and everyone who will watch it. Once you finally get an agent you’re stressing about them dropping you because you haven’t booked in a year. Once you finally get the job you’re stressing because you’ve never been on set with this caliber of actors, and what if they fire you on the spot, because you’ve heard that they do that sometimes, and why of anyone around would they keep you?!
Whew. In the midst of all that stressing it’s easy to lose track of the fact that you signed up for this crazy, non-linear path because you actually like to act. When we peel back all of the Industry layers, we’re left with the root of our passion. The craft, the art, the process of creating.
I know this all so intimately because I have lived it first-hand. I was thinking about acting so much that I’d have nightmares, then wake up and actually have to pursue it. It felt like I was on a never-ending stress ride that I couldn’t figure out how to get off of. Unfortunately, what happens when you’re on a stress rollercoaster is that eventually you’ll crash. There’s no way of sustaining a happy life balance if all of your conversations and actions are motivated by trying to get ahead instead of being present.
So how do we safely get off the stress rollercoaster, strive for our dreams, and seek a balance in our lives? The answer is pretty simple, as most answers to big issues are:
Go Live Your Life!
Remember when you were a kid and your days were filled with so many activities? You might have been in a team sport, or on the debate team, maybe you went to the movies with your best friends every Friday, or had family game nights with your favorite pizza. When we were younger, we didn’t have to budget or support ourselves or do anything except for that which made us happy.
Let me tell you friends, adulthood doesn’t have to be much different. We have a lot more control over our own happiness than we think. I remember when I moved to LA and had my first manager. I was so afraid to leave the city for any amount of time that I didn’t go home to see my parents in over a year. Now that might be average for some people, but for this only child it was a crazy amount of time. I missed birthdays, holidays, and important milestones solely because I was waiting for them to tell me when and how high to jump. After spending Christmas- which happens to be my favorite holiday- without my family, I made a choice then and there that I wouldn’t let my pursuit of this business keep me from the rest of my life.
And you know what happened? My life completely opened up. Now I spend my weeks floating through tough workout classes, not because I need to look a certain way, but because it is good for my mental health. I play golf, take pottery, go to Palm Springs with my girlfriends for their birthdays, and go home to see my parents. No, this is not the day-to-day schedule of a working or rich actor. I still have to work to support myself, we all have to work. But I’m no longer spending my free time stressing about things I can’t control.
As long as I know that when I do get the opportunity to get into “the room,” I show up fully and completely; I can go about the rest of my day free to live life on my terms. What a gift knowing that has been.