Three-year-old Wisdom, Day 7
I could not be more thankful than I am right now for this project I’ve started that is admittedly kicking my butt, but in a good way. My dear friend Claudia insisted I meet her at 9:15 this morning at the Reebok gym for her regular spin class. Those of you who know me understand how little I enjoy waking up at 8am only to bathe in my own perspiration while internally cursing off the overly emphatic instructor. Nevertheless, my day began with a bang, from pushing myself at the gym to returning books and an oversized shirt, to wading through the crowds of tourists in Times Square.
Despite my usual distaste for the insanity that is Times Square (unless the activity is adjacent to my subway stop), I went equipped with a purpose I’ve debated for a long time: joining Actor’s Equity. If you haven’t read my discourse about this union, check out last week’s post here. Anyway, I did it! I climbed the 14 floors to the membership department (in an elevator, of course), handed them my application and a large pile of cash, and received my Actor’s Equity card. It may not seem like much, but my 8am-2am day felt rather long and in the end, as though I had accomplished a great deal.
Later this evening at Naked Angels‘ Tuesdays at 9, after my well-earned nap, the musical theater composer and songwriter Mark Gaylord further solidified the feeling I’d had all day that though my new daily hustle can be exhausting, it truly enlightens my life. Writing about his son, “who gives it all he can,” Mark describes the wisdom that starts in childhood and often diminishes for adults. Truly, children exercise harder, learn more fervently, and love with fewer boundaries.
Somewhere between episodes of Fraggle Rock and moving to New Jersey, I lost a little of that fire even as an older child, though I never lost my imagination. I would wander the streets of Cherry Hill singing “On My Own” from Les Miserables, imagining some random Broadway producer would be driving in the streets of my little neighborhood and snatch me up to become an actor. Such urban legends rarely happen but when they do, the recipient of such favor is hustling, networking, performing, practicing – giving it all she can.
So many of us have confused the American Dream with ease. Televisions, the Internet, ready-made meals, and reality shows have all, among other things, convinced us that we can achieve with minimal effort. Angrily scoffing at actors or singers who know someone or have hustled well and therefore succeed, we secretly envy those who have achieved with less talent or skill that which we cannot with inactivity, laziness or fear. I don’t claim to know how hard Andrea Bocelli, for example, has worked on his technique. Personally, I’m not a fan; however, I have a choice. I can either wander the streets hoping someday someone might notice me and my skills, or I can study and push and audition and network and learn and… hustle.
I met a lot of great people tonight again at Naked Angels. While toasting my recent conversion to Actor’s Equity with them afterwards, I realized this effort enhances my life. I may succeed in ways I have yet to predict. I may not. Either way, I’m quite glad to return to some three-year-old wisdom and give it all I can.