I don’t remember the exact moment that I didn’t want to pursue acting anymore. But I do remember realizing that it had already happened, and being so happy with how I felt about it, and being shocked that I was happy about it.
I moved to LA to act. There was always this underlying fear of, what if I don’t make it? Which changed over the years into, what if I want to give up? This really scared me, because it made me think I would be a failure. That I would let myself down and let other people down. That I wouldn’t amount to anything. And where would I go from there?
I never thought that if I decided to stop pursuing acting that I would actually be happy about it. But I really am. I say stop pursuing acting rather than giving up, because I don’t feel like I’ve given up. I’ve just changed course. I love acting. I always will. And who knows? If something fun and exciting presents itself in the future, maybe I’ll go for it. But what it came down to was this: if you want to “make it” as an actor (in LA or in general), you really have to give all of yourself to it. I tried to convince myself that I did, and for a time, I think it was really true, but I can now say with conviction that I absolutely do not want to give all of myself to acting. I have too many other interests, too many other curiosities that excite me to my core. Writing is something I have to do. Acting is not. It’s that simple.
Weirdly, I think Natalie came to a similar, if not temporary, conclusion around the same time as me. Natalie, who has been acting her entire life. Natalie, who is one of the most talented actors I’ve ever known. Natalie, who grew up in LA and has lived here her entire life, is now in Portland, Oregon, attending school for acupuncture. It’s not that she doesn’t love acting or she’s given it up, it’s just that going to school is something that excites her, right now.
When we spoke recently, and talked about where we are in our lives, two words can describe how we both felt about not giving all of ourselves to acting: relief and happiness. No more politics, no more stupid headshots, no more following ridiculous rules for auditions, no more auditioning for absolutely dreadful projects with terrible writing. It’s wonderful.
I’m not bitter. I understand the game, and I respect it. I just don’t want to play anymore. Or at least, not right now.
All our lives, we set goals for ourselves: I want to be here at this time, I want to achieve this at that time. I heard something recently that really rang true for me. It went sort of like this: our 20’s were like, how can I succeed and what do I need to do to get there? Our 30’s are like, what makes me happy and excited, and how can I explore this journey?
It’s OK to set goals for yourself and change your mind later. Change happens along the way, and change is good. I have a lot of big changes coming up in my life, and I couldn’t be more excited about every single one of them.
There has been one constant since I moved to LA, more than five years ago, and that’s writing. Writing still excites me, and it excites me that it still excites me, if that makes any sense. It’s very comforting to know that you have this one thing in your life that you need and is a part of who you are. On the other side of that, is everything else. All that is unknown and out there, waiting for you. You just never know what might peak your interest and get you excited. It’s best to leave yourself open to it.
*Book recommendation – The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion: an endearingly funny and super smart romantic comedy. Had me laughing the whole way through. Incredibly enjoyable listen right before bed.
*Podcast recommendation – Homecoming: the first scripted series from Gimlet Media, starring Catherine Keener, Oscar Isaac, David Schwimmer, David Cross, and Amy Sedaris. Only six episodes for its first season, each episode had me hanging on to every word and wanting more. I can’t wait for Season 2!