Roads I’m Not Going to Take (an explanation)

I’m at a curious point in my life. Up until a couple of years ago, my life seemed to be on a particular path. I moved to Chicago to become an actor, discovered a passion for improvisational theatre and began a lifelong pursuit of teaching, directing and performing in the theatre. Then life started throwing me some curve balls.

I realized that I was unhappy in my administration job at the theatre where I worked, so I quit (although I kept teaching). I started winning at poker and began to think about pursuing it professionally. I found another new source of income when a hobby became a business. I left New York to spend some time with my father in Arizona, and finally I moved back to my hometown to take care of my mother. My old life has been completely interrupted.

This is not all bad. I’m very glad that I’ve been able to spend time with my family and being a caregiver for a parent does have many rewards. It’s hard not to feel a little lost at times though. Eventually, I will leave again, pick up my life and start over. And I’ll have many options in front of me.

Do I return to the theatre? If so, do I go back to Chicago, return to New York or join many of my friends in Los Angeles? Maybe I should go back to Arizona where the weather is amazing and theatre culture is still young, or perhaps I should reconnect with some of my oldest and best friends in Seattle. Do I teach for someone else like I have before or do I teach my own classes or even start my own theatre?

Part of me longs to travel, both here and abroad. Perhaps I should return to poker, hone my tournament skills and spend a year or two traveling from one tournament to another.

My business may still be doing well when it’s time to leave here, perhaps I should throw all my energy into that. I don’t think most people get several chances to build up a successful business. Second Life may peak and fall apart within the next 5 years. I should strike while the iron is hot, make as much money as I can before people move on to something else.

Still, perhaps this is the time to return to grad school. I could get an MFA in acting or directing. Perhaps teaching at a university would be great fun and a good way to spend the next twenty years or so.

But if I return to school, maybe this is the perfect opportunity to nurture a different interest. Maybe computer science is still something I could pursue and enjoy. Of course, I’m also very interested in mathematics, biology, economics, diet and nutrition, and a half a dozen other topics, so saying I’ll return to grad school only expands my options.

In part the purpose of this blog is for me to hone my sense of what things are most important to me. I know that I’m getting ready for the second big chunk of my adult life and I want it to be meaningful and satisfying. I don’t want to simply see where the wind takes me (or do I? Perhaps, that is exactly how I should spend life, hopping from opportunity to opportunity, never quite knowing where I will be five years from now).

Of course, I don’t need to decide this today or tomorrow. I think this blog will help me figure out just where my path lies when it comes time to move on to the next part of my life. You could call it a mid-life crisis, but I don’t think it is. It’s more of a mid-life pause. Life has forced me to narrow my focus, give up most of parts of what was my life temporarily. I’m determined to use it as an opportunity.

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