01 April 2008

"April is the Cruelest Month"

It's taken me a long time to come to this decision, and I have to admit it's difficult for me to declare it, particularly here. It's also apt, however. I began this 'blog with the intention of chronicling the efforts of an actor trying to find an effective balance between his work and the rest of his life. "The Third Life," I called it. From the very beginning, I had to acknowledge the possibility that such a frank observation might lead me to a conclusion I wouldn't otherwise have entertained the possibility of. Now I find myself ready to make a change in my life, and I just have to ask for your understanding in doing so.

I am giving up acting.

To a few of you, this will come as little surprise. From the rest, I don't know what to expect. If you are counting on me for a specific project we've discussed, don't worry -- I'll be honoring those commitments, and fulfilling them just as I would have before my decision. And I won't stop helping friends out with their work, naturally, if they ask me. It's just that I'm going to have to start basing the decisions of my life more upon other things, apart from trying to act all the time. After giving it much thought, it's clear to me that this is the right decision.

It came down to this: What did it matter if I continued or not? What's really important is living a life I can be proud of, one that helps other people and supports my loved ones. Besides, the whole notion of "art" needing to be my career is hopelessly naive. Art can still have a prominent place in my life, regardless of what I spend the majority of my time doing. I won't stop thinking and having ideas, feeling and reaching out to others. I'll just stop auditioning and rehearsing and performing. I'll catch up on all the fun to be had by living a life that's still unique (it is me, after all) but lived a little closer to the main way.

There is a lot I enjoy doing, and a lot I want to try that has nothing to do with acting. Teaching, for example. I used to view it as a painful compromise, but I've been doing more and more teaching lately, and more often than not I find it a really gratifying experience. I'm not sure just what I'll teach, now that it won't be performance-related, but there's time to figure that out. And I can finally spend time figuring out all those little financial details everyone else has in their lives: 401(k)s, stock options, equity, etc. I have no idea what these things really are! And now I'll have the time and access to them to learn. I've been wanting to reacquaint myself with the trombone since last Fall, and can finally take those guitar, Italian and kung fu classes I could never commit to before.

Finally -- and this is more important than may at first be obvious -- I will no longer have to feel uncomfortable about myself in relation to the rest of the world. I can meet people and simply say, "I'm an accountant," or, "Did you see how the Giants were playing on Sunday?" People will accept me, and I will understand people. The world will make sense, and I can't wait for it. I've spent so long re-enforcing my own lonely battle for some idea of "truth," and asking difficult questions. Sure, I've had some friends who felt similarly and who questioned with me, and I hope I'll keep them, but now I'll have the rest of the world as my friend. I respect those who can continue that sort of struggle. I just have to do what's right for me.

So thank you, one and all, for joining me for the last year or so of my life lived a certain way. From here on out, this 'blog will catalogue different things; possibly guitar tablature and reviews of television shows, that sort of thing. I'm not sure yet. But the title is definitely going to be "Wednesday's Hobby" from now on.

[Oh and ah: Check the date of this entry. Hope you had a happy one, Fools.]

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