I just returned from winter break a week ago. We all had two weeks off from our contract for the holidays (which is exceptionally unusual and something for which I am vehemently grateful).
I spent the first week at home with my family for Christmas and the second in New York City for New Years.
Now, I say I was in NYC for New Years. While this is technically true, I wasn’t there for the reason you might think.
Because believe it or not, the idea of wearing a diaper and standing in a freezing Times Square all night while being squished by a bunch of random strangers listening to Ryan Seacrest narrate the descension of a glowing sphere for one minute does not sound appealing to me.
No, I was there to spend time with friends and take some classes. And it was the most incredible therapy for my soul.
Life as an actor is a gypsy one. You live where you get hired, you make money wherever you can (which makes budgeting a pain in the butt, lemme tell ya), you don’t know where you’ll be living in a year at any given point. And when you get a job, you’re immersed in that job. Which is both a blessing and a curse. Jobs are an opportunity to do something that you love to do. They’re a chance to exercise the skills you’ve honed in classes and lessons. They’re your career. And they’re also things that consume all your time while you have them.
What I’m getting at: when you’re working, that’s all you’re doing.
While I’m on contract, I’m not taking dance classes or voice lessons or acting classes because any of the time I would spend doing those things is consumed with rehearsals or shows.
It’s not a problem, in fact it’s an incredible blessing. But having gone from training every single day in school to no training all at once was a bit jarring. And a week in NYC was just what my creative and emotional heart needed.
I took an aerial silks class—something I’ve not done in at least a year and a passion of mine that I nurtured for a solid three years before going to college.
I took a tap class! I. Love. Tap. It’s my bread and butter of dance. I enjoy the other forms, but tap is my strongest dance form and the one I’m most passionate about. I haven’t had much in the way of tap training in years and was beyond grateful to be in that class. I don’t think I’ve smiled that much in a while. I was like a little kid at Christmas getting to do something that made my heart so happy.
But honestly the best part of the trip was getting to see the best people in the world. A large majority of my friends live in the city and I’ve missed them terribly these last six months. Part of the gypsy lifestyle is saying a lot of goodbyes. Graduation was the last time I’d seen most of these people. These people who I spent almost every waking moment with all through college. I rang in the new year with them, I went running, on long walks, climbing rooftops, dancing, laughing, drinking coffee. I came back from that trip feeling refreshed, grateful, proud, and inspired. It was the perfect end to a crazy year and I’m grateful for every second.
This time last year, I had a gut feeling that I was not supposed to move to NYC. The nerve wracking thing about that was not knowing where the heck I was going to go instead. I wanted a job (one exactly like the one I’ve got) but I hadn’t been to any auditions yet and even then wasn’t guaranteed job offers. Sometimes the cards aren’t in your favor and even all the right preparation yields no results.
Thankfully, that was not the case this time.
In February I went to an audition conference. A month later I had 5 job offers. By mid-March I knew what my next year looked like. The Lord works in mysterious ways. I felt good about my decisions and had a post-graduation plan.
This trip to New York was the first time that I felt at peace with the idea of moving there eventually. I know that it’s probably still yet going to be a couple years.
But where there once was a gut feeling of “no, and maybe never” there’s now a gut feeling of “probably, but not yet.” And that’s exciting.
I used to feel anxiety at the lack of certainty this job entailed. Now it’s liberating and exciting. Life carries so much potential for adventure and I can’t wait to continue this ride.