Notice in my last post I said I’m not the only one whoÂ feels this way, not felt. I should be over this at going-on-31 (even though people keep telling me thatâ€™s young), but indecisiveness is a very present state of mind because there are still so many choices.
For example, I have a business idea that, if executed correctly–and timing has just as much to do with correctness in entrepreneurship as it does in comedy–could be very lucrative. I also have an offer of admission into a graduate writing program. Knowing that, when things are done well, it normally takes 2 to 3 years for a new business to secure its footing and start making a profit, I have accepted that the business and the MFA program cannot coexist. But I can’t say whether I’m a creative writer who also wants to be in business at some point or a business woman who is confident a master of fine arts will create measurable added value for her services.
Six different organizations or institutions have said, via public ceremonies and/or monetary awards, that I’m a talented writer. Â Iâ€™m grateful for the recognition, but I also think about something I lack: I’m saddened that I won’t be inÂ Blues for an Alabama Sky at University of Louisville in early 2012.Â The show will take place when Iâ€™m living outside the city limits, so thereâ€™s no reason to audition for it, despite the fact it contains a role Iâ€™ve wanted to play for 7 or 8 years.Â See, I’m an actress. An actress who is probably not going to be on a stage for at least another two years.
Which means my acting could go the way of my singing. Â And my painting. Â I no longer do either. Â I could see picking up a paint brush again. Â In fact, I think it would help me write. But I canâ€™t see myself having any skill in it anymore.Â I don’t really sing congregational hymns at church anymore, and not just because our opening “hymn” is usually a contemporary gospel song I neither like nor know. Â I don’t sing in the shower either.
Then there’s dance. Â I took my first lessons in tap, ballet and jazz when I was 3, and Iâ€™m a happier performer if the role requires choreography. Â I attend dance-based aerobics classes, and I can’t express how much it both humbled me and lifted my spirit when an older woman said to me after BodyJam the other day, “You are a wonderful dancer and a joy to watch!” But letâ€™s be real; itâ€™s BodyJamâ€”or Zumba, or Dance Fitness or my living room, and it’s occasionally ballroom dance class. Â But it’s not a Broadway musical or â€œSo you think you can dance?â€Â I canâ€™t do the things those peopole are able to do.
Talents I didn’t develop have been lost, and due to the limitations of the human body as it ages, I will never get some of them back. Â The sad thing is, I can’t remember ever making a conscious decision to abandon any one opportunity in favor of devoting concentrated study to another.
See, I think itâ€™s okay, perhaps even necessary, to quit.Â As Seth Godin explains in his book, â€œThe Dip,â€ getting to the top of your game, whatever it is, is not easy.Â Most people donâ€™t reach the pinnacle not because theyâ€™re not good enough, but because at some point, they see how hard the road to get there is.Â At that point, they make a decision: â€œI this love so much or want this so badly that Iâ€™ll devote myself to it.â€ Or, â€œI feel that way about something else.â€ Or, â€œNothing is really worth all that.â€
The last option is the easiest, but I donâ€™t want to be a slacker. I want to be in Blues.Â I want to be a better writer.Â I want to finish my unfinished essays and publish a book.Â I want to write new plays, have them produced and win more playwriting awards.Â I want to be worthy of a role on a regional theater (or larger) stage.Â Whether I get another award from the Society of Professional Journalists or not, I want to keep all the readers Iâ€™ve lost since Gannett shut down the weekly that published my column for the past two years.Â I want my vision for bringing the arts and individual artists into business to come to pass.Â I want to give my cultural commentary on syndicated radio shows.Â I want to live abroad for several months.Â I want to be an excellent mom and wife.Â I want to be able to do the splits again.
In this age of extended life expectancy, most of that is possible.Â I guess I could divide everything into seven-year stints, and just tell myself to get as good as I can get in that block of time, then move on to something else.Â But I know God laughs at such plans.Â Besides, 7 is the number of completion, but think of how different the world would be if Toni Morrison had given only 7 years to her writing or if Oprah had stopped after 7 years in television or if Michael Jackson had moved on to just movies after 7 years in music.
No, greatness takes desire and time.Â Fortunately, it doesnâ€™t take infinity.Â I just have to be committed.Â And make hard choices.