New Year, Old Ego, Open Heart

7 Jan

New Years 2013Every January lends itself to a fresh start, a new perspective, or a clean slate. Those first couple of weeks I’m typically pretty energized and motivated (as I’m sure many are) to get organized and go after the things I really want. Making lists, goals, stacks, piles and files. This January is no exception. I’m just hoping the enthusiasm doesn’t wane and get forgotten like it usually does, and all of those life changes, bucket lists, and closet purges get forgotten about yet again, gathering dust until the next new year…

One major “cleaning out” I would like to do, or I guess one aspect of my life I’d like to be more aware of, is my EGO. I don’t mean it in the sense of being full of oneself. Rather, the attachment we may have to identity. In taking this new full-time job and then having a two week break in the peaceful, distraction-free, snow-blanketed mountains, I realized something: I got to get rid of my ego. Well, maybe not get rid of it entirely (I have a feeling it will always linger in some form or another) but to at least lessen it, quiet it, learn to let go of it, not let it rule all of my actions and decisions. Am I still being vague? Okay, let me get specific…

My passion is acting. Making stories. Writing them, telling them, painting them, performing them, sharing them. But it isn’t teaching them. Not full-time anyway. However, I feel that at my age, and where my peers are at in their lives, I should be at that point, too– with a “career” job, an annual salary and paychecks that come like clockwork every two weeks, and health benefits, a retirement plan. You know the drill. “Grown up” stuff. But what is that, really? Why do I feel like I should be in that place? Because it’s what I really want, or because of my ego? Sure a steady income is nice, don’t get me wrong. I am absolutely terrified of being financially unstable. But I’m equally, if not more so, terrified of each year going by where I’m NOT doing what I love and taking this back seat to my own life… letting things happen to me (this job literally fell into my lap) instead of making things happen for my life. It’s my life and I only got one of it, so why spend it doing what I don’t want to do? Well, there’s that fear of course.

This year I want to learn to be okay with (and feel good about) taking an unconventional route and how taking an alternate route does not mean failure, laziness, immaturity or the other labels I’m afraid of. It just means something different. If there’s one thing that acting has taught me is that there is no one right way of doing things– not in building a career as an actor and certainly not in this game of Life. I read a great article in GQ the other day about “The Cooler Me.” Basically, this guy who took the more “conventional” path (married, with children, steady job, etc) wanted a glimpse into what his life could’ve been had he gone a different direction, so he became friends with a doppleganger, a guy who with similar age and background is living his life as a musician, unattached, in a house with a million roommates. Reading the article, I’d say I’m somewhere in the middle. But it did make me realize what is important to me right now, to listen to my heart.

My heart is in making stories in every form that entails. My heart yearns for travel, freedom, adventure, friends, acting. This year, I would like to make more room for all of this. I’m in a fortunate position where I don’t have many attachments. So instead of letting my ego rule my actions, I want to let my heart do more of the decision making.