What Do I Want to be When I Grow Up?


I thought this question got answered once and then that was it.

NOT!

And it’s not like I’m one of those people who didn’t know.  I mean, every once in a while, when I’m fantasizing about this easier life that fits more of the status quo expectations, I remember that it was never like I had much of a choice.  Until I started teaching, I stayed at jobs for an average of 1.25 years if that.  I got bored.  I moved on.  I shed office jobs, 9-5 work weeks and other things that didn’t fit fairly quickly.  I know that parents–particularly those of my own parents’ generation–have this idea that you can force yourself to work at jobs you hate.

NOT!

And it wasn’t like I was ever not creating.  I mean, outside of my run-ins with writer’s block in my twenties, but really, even then, I was always making something.  I kind of couldn’t, and can’t, stop.

What I didn’t know is that it was possible to run out of road even with things you love.  For example, I found I LOVED teaching.  I mean, lie on the bed wondering how I could even deserve to do something that made me that happy kind of love.  Especially in the arts.  After not sticking with any job for more than 2 years, tops, in my life, at 30 I started teaching Creative Writing in all its forms and that lasted for about 11 years.  But when I stopped learning new things to teach in poetry and fiction–meaning that when my artistic life started to turn to theatre–I started to be bored.  I know it’s all so mature to say that I have a choice, but even if that’s true, teaching something that’s already past for me isn’t a choice I like to make.  I like to teach on my own growing edge, because I truly love teaching and the best teaching happens exactly at that place, where I am teaching what I need to learn, or what I am learning, or what I have just learned, or what I’m incorporating, synthesizing, into my artistic aesthetic or world view.  Teaching is so alive and creative, then.

So what do I want to be when I grow up?

First, let’s debunk the growing up part.  I have already reached my full height–I’d gained most of it by age 13 (I was taller than the boys in 7th grade)–so literally, it’s just not happening any more.  And I agree with Shonda Rimes–there are no real adults, just children with larger bodies.

But what do I want to be?  Well, present, alive, kind, moral, loving, joyful, peaceful, creative, spiritual…I could start with that.  And end with it.

The only reason the question is reappearing is because I have sworn, once again, to give up producing theatre.  Honestly, if there was a 12 step program for theatre producers, I’d do daily attendance.  One day at a time, I will not produce theatre.

Did I mention how much I dislike producing theatre?  Of course there are rewards–getting to pick the projects, getting to create the organizational structure, setting the standards, establishing a mission.  But the drawbacks–you know, I have never truly enjoyed producing theatre.  I enjoy directing, acting, writing, teaching, creating, collaborating with colleagues (especially people like my friend Jeannie Marie, who is brilliant), but I do not enjoy producing.

The fact that producing paved the way for some of the best teaching I’ve done in my life is not lost on me, but.  But.

And now, the Meisner technique, which I love, love, love, isn’t enough.  My growing edge is now movement theatre, collaborative work, bringing the connection of Meisner to the body.  Opening actors to levels of creativity beyond the script, which is the Meisner technique in some ways, but addressing it directly so actors become true artists–that’s the work that’s calling, rather loudly.

So, I’ll be a certified yoga instructor by the end of the summer.  I may travel to New York to train with Faye Simpson some more.

And, I applied for a teaching job.  In a school community.  Which would keep me doing all of the above with no producing.

There’s never any guarantees–that they’ll call for an interview, that it will be a match, that I won’t be applying elsewhere.

But change is in the wind.  It’s been blowing through my life for the last three years.  Loss, illness, training at Celebration Barn in 2010, listening to these weird intuitions.  The weirdest:  I have had a feeling that when I quit dyeing my hair, I’d be my true actress self.

I DO know what I want to be when I grow up:  present, kind, moral, honest, loving….

I DO know that I can’t not be an artist and teacher.  It doesn’t seem to be in me.

I DO know that I don’t want to produce and I do want to study yoga and I don’t know what I’ll make next, but it won’t be something I’ve done before or in the last ten years.

And I know that when change is in the wind, it’s best to be curious, it’s best to have a sense of adventure.  Surrender, accept, let the wind take you, because fighting is misery and there’s enough of that around without creating more for yourself.

I am here to see what happens.

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2 thoughts on “What Do I Want to be When I Grow Up?

  1. I love this post, Lyralen – and I love where you are at. I relate to it so well. Change is the only constant in my life, and I’m getting better and better at welcoming it. The most freeing realization for me has been that no one thing – be it method, idea, approach, whatever – is the be-all end-all answer to anything. This has given me Carte Blanche to be as you know to be around change – open, curious, in anticipation of adventure. I just can’t stop wanting to learn and experience more. I love when an experience shows me what I don’t want, because it helps me be even clearer about what I do want. Removes the whole notion of regret (which is a bit cumbersome anyway, and something I’m happy to release). Here’s to adventure, to seeing what happens.

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