If you own a GPS, you know that word.  I don’t think the person voicing it meant to be as accusatory as it sounds when you make a turn contradictory to the directions the computer feels you should be following.  Sometimes you know where you are headed so you aren’t complying with the preset path, you just need the computer to keep you up to date on what your ETA will be.  Other times, you remember you need something and make a pit stop on the way.  Sometimes you genuinely get turned around and go the wrong direction.  Either way, you get the GPS all discombobulated and she’s clattering away, “recalculating….recalculating…recalculating”  I know! I know! you want to scream.  Just chill out while I get myself back on path.

It often seems this way with accomplishing our goals.  We think there is only one way to achieve them but then something or someone bumps us off that path and before you know it, your internal GPS is saying “recalculating” as you get your bearings and get back on track.  Being flexible enough to take this all in and not let it deter you from continuing on is key to making progress and not quitting.  There’s never just one way to get to your destination and knowing you just need to recalculate your way takes a lot of the anxiety away from those bumps and bruises.  And hearing a less obnoxious voice in your head certainly won’t hurt!

The Gift of Aspiration

Everywhere in this world there are people who are further up the spectrum than I am.  People who have more money than me, have achieved more fame than I, are skinnier, more proficient, more talented, you name it.  But there they are, ahead of me in some way.  As I write this, I am sitting on a plane in coach 2 rows back from first class so I have a bird’s eye view of the way they get to fly. I usually sit further back on the plane so while I know first class is there, I’m not as acutely aware of it. Lunch has just been served, on china and the flight attendant is bringing around petit fours for dessert, along with a refill of wine.  I haven’t even been asked if I want to buy an overpriced snack yet.

I say this not to complain about how awful air travel has become but to highlight where they are versus where I sit.  Watching the lovely way they are being treated made me want to be up there.  To figure out a way to get in the club.  Research the challenge.  Problem solve to achieve the goal.

Having those backs to look at as I travel my path is a wonderful gift. It lets me know what I want is achievable and if they can do it so can I.  I don’t look at those who have achieved with anger or envy (ok maybe a little envy, lunch sure smelled good and I would kill for more leg room) but with assurance that one day I’ll be up there, eating lunch on china at 35000 feet, accepting accolades on my performance and finally fitting into a wee size (or at least a wee-er size).  Just need to keep aspiring.  That’ll make it happen.

Green Eyed Monster

It’s not something I’m very proud of.  But I’ll admit it.  I suffer from the green eyed monster, Jealousy.  I know I’m supposed to strive to be better and to be happy for those who win.  My time will come if I’m just patient and hard working.  There’s enough work for everyone and all boats are raised when 1 boat is raised.  Yeah, right, whatever.  Sorry to disappoint, but I’m not that evolved.  The thing is my failures or non bookings keep getting rubbed in my face time and again.  The commercials, the films, the narrations, the TV shows I audition for end up on the air and I usually see or hear them.  Sometimes over and over.  It’s salt in the proverbial wound.  Or a friend takes the leap of faith and heads out to LA to make it happen for themselves and I’m reminded of my progresslessness-if that’s a word!

I get that everyone is on an individual path and timeline and mine doesn’t match theirs.  At least I get it intellectually.  That doesn’t mean the petulant child in me still doesn’t throw a tantrum more often than I care to admit.  That I don’t wallow in self pity on my couch with the remote control in hand and a bag of whatever food drug I’m using to numb my pain.  It just stinks that this is taking so long and there aren’t any surefire ways to make it happen.  So forgive the melt-down.  I’m due.  My goal is to spread out the meltdowns a little further apart from the last one I had.  Now that’s progress!

Castles in the air

I’m a great one for the “what ifs”.  This is a very dangerous thing for an actor to do.  It starts off innocuously enough, “ooo, this is a good part for me, I’ll submit for it”.  Or “wow a SAG commercial, cool!”  Then you audition and it goes great, you make everyone laugh with your performance and leave everything in the room and with sounds of kudos and thanks still ringing in your ears as you leave the casting room, you are sure you nailed the audition and got the part.  Which of course will lead to a national ad that will pay you residuals for at least the next 6 months meaning you don’t have to worry about where the mortgage is going to come from.  And that national ad is going to lead to opportunities and invitations to acting mecca, Los Angeles, where you will be picked up at the airport in a chauffeured black SUV and taken through the main gates of a studio where you once again nail the audition and land a plum role in a series slated to run at least 5 years meaning syndication is a lock and your money worries are cast aside for at least 10 years.  Oh and it’s directed by an Academy Award winning director who just happens to have the perfect role for you in his next soon-to-be-nominated film.  And all of this came from a simple mailing of a headshot to a casting person in Minneapolis.

Focusing on the possibilities is a very important thing to do.  It’s the Little League player seeing himself hit the winning Grand Slam in the 9th inning of the 7th game of the World Series.  It’s the 5th grade Science enthusiast seeing herself viewing the earth from an orbiting Space Shuttle.  It’s the middle aged runner/walker seeing herself completing a 10K 5K without having to walk all that much.  Ok so maybe I’m talking about myself here.  But putting oneself in the realm of possibilities creates the dreams that drive the actions.  Allowing those dreams take over the reality can be a not-so-good thing.  Staying focused on the next achievable goal gets you closer to achieving that dream without building a castle in the air that has no foundation to support it.  And that type of castle is bound to collapse.