I really can't believe that this year is almost at a close. On one hand, 2020 felt super long and drawn out, on the other hand - here we are nearly at the close of the year. As I returned to set in early October, and what was "normal" life before the pandemic. I had time to reflect on what's happened this year. As I reflected I did what I fear is most of our default setting, I started diving into the "should haves" and "what ifs" of the year. As most of you know, I spent the majority of my quarantine diving into my podcast, the ocean, family time, and away from my acting career. When I arrived back in New York, this was something I started to feel guilty about. Until I was reminded of all the blessings that came from that.
I think as actors, at some point we really have this feeling of...should I just give it up? Try something else. After all, this is a taxing career with little reward compared to the energy you put out. Well, I guess that's what I did in quarantine, dived into a part of myself I had never given myself permission to... because being an actor was all I wanted. What did it teach me? That acting really is what I want to do. Separating myself from it, made me feel like I was missing a part of myself. Sometimes you have to figure out what you don't want in order to find out what you truly do.
So before you start writing out your New Year goals & resolutions. Start by reflecting on any lingering regrets, or anything from the past year you think you should have done. Ask yourself why, and what purpose does it hold holding onto it? Whatever it may be, I encourage you to throw it out (physically or emotionally) and forgive yourself. Sometimes it helps to write everything out and throw it away, tear it up or throw something out that reminds you of a bad time.
There's a question I always as my interviewees which is "If you could give your younger self advice, what age would you intervene and what would the advice be?". This is one of my favorite questions to ask, often people answer with "I wouldn't". Why? Because it's necessary to learn from those mistakes in order to grow, sometimes our biggest failures put us on the path we were always meant to be on. So if you're following along, I want you to rewrite those regrets out, but instead of writing them as failures think of how you can frame them as something that helped you along the way.
For example, Instead of "I spent my quarantine sitting on the couch, eating chips and sleeping too much" reframe it as "Giving myself the break I needed will allow me to go into this year with more energy, plus I got to watch a lot of cool TV shows which inspired me to start writing again...".
You get me?
As we head into 2021, I really encourage you to move forward with the mentality of "what's the gift in this". There will always be times in our lives where things just suck, and by no means do I ignore my pain or the pain of people around me. But just don't become the suck. Allow yourself to grieve, and then let it go. As the wise baboon in Disney's The Lion King said:
"The past can hurt, but the way I see it, you can either learn from it or run from it."
See you next year...