Last night I leaned against the railing of the Belasco Theater’s mezzanine in DTLA and watched as two friends from high school played to a packed house, with their band “Minus the Bear”. And, as I watched and listened, I was overwhelmed by the feeling that everyone I know, myself included, is nailing it. “It” being living. This “creating a life that makes you happy and feeds your soul and makes it seem like there’s a point to all of the absurdity” thing. The often self imposed angst, confusion, and pressure I so frequently felt and saw mirrored in those I love for the past twenty or so years, seems to be lifting. Not that anything has been figured out necessarily, but, speaking for myself, there just came a point when the choice to be happy and joyful had to be made. Or not.
After the show, one of my friends showed me a picture he’d recently come across of us taking our final Thespian Club bow at the end of our Senior production of Titus Andronicus. The world lay at our feet and all we had to do was be brave enough to catch it and run. He was meant to play music on stage. I had spent my high school years on stage, in art classes, and studying German and had no idea where those interests would lead me, but trusted it would be somewhere good.
And then life happened. Things that sparked my creative light took a backseat and I tortured myself frequently about needing to figure it all out. And I let enough time pass that I actually started to forget the high of being on stage, rehearsing, improving, writing, collaborating, and creating. Instead, I helped others bring their visions to fruition, made a decent living, and ended up with a career I wasn’t in love with.
But, as they say, the Soul will have its way. And the quicker we learn to accept that truth, listen, and follow, the less we will suffer.
In my friend’s lives and my own, I see the beginning of that acceptance and the magic that acceptance then creates. In some ways it feels like I’ve taken a twenty year detour to get back to my 1997 self, albeit now a more confident, experienced, and (hopefully) wiser version. And I don’t regret any of the strange and sometimes dark paths I periodically chose, for it all helped me to appreciate and have immense gratitude for the clarity and homecoming I now feel.
Standing in the mezzanine last night, it was as if I could hear our eighteen year old selves rooting us on, proud of the choices their older selves would eventually make, guiding us to more amazing lives than we ever could have imagined back then.
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