Happy End to 2011! (Part 1)


I went to Staples last week to get a new accordian folder.  The kind of folder I use at the end of each year to collect & categorize all of my business-related receipts & other bits of paperwork, which I will hand over to my CPA come Springtime.  It’s but one of the many “clearing out” rituals that happen when another year is coming to a close.  But…

WAIT A MINUTE!  Didn’t I just do this?  Where did 2011 go?  And what exactly happened during this time?  I mean, my 2010 accordian folder is still sitting in my office, having never made it to the storage unit, where years 2002-2009 sit patiently awaiting it’s arrival.  (Not to worry!  A long overdue spring cleaning of our storage unit is coming up during “quiet time” this month!  Oh, joy!)

All of this is to say – Well, shoot.  Time really flies.  Again and again I’m reminded of this fact.  So back to 2011.  And what to make of it.

All in all I’d call it a good year.  A productive year.  Sure there were bouts of anxiety & frustrations along the way, but all in all, it was a very good year.  I finally yanked myself away from Los Angeles in August, and went on a long-overdue, well-deserved (stay)cation which involved an 8 day juice fast in the desert.  That might sound like torture to some, but I loved it.  It was exactly the rest & rejuvenation I needed.  And to prove it, I’ve already got my reservation for same time next year!

My book, The Princess of Fakenham, continues to evolve.  It’s definitely long enough now to qualify as a novel!  Yipee!  Soon it shall be time to share what I’ve come up with (to a select group of trusted eyes).  I’m looking forward to the feedback that will hopefully point me in the direction leading to the book’s completion.  My goal is the end of 2012.

Early this year I revisited voice & dance lessons.  Alas, as much as I loved going back to ballet, I soon discovered some rather unpleasant new aches & pains.  Halux rigidus?!  Latin for “stiff toe”.  Yes, it seems I was suddenly dealing with a bit of arthritis in the joint at the base of my right big toe.  The foot doc suggested that repeated releves at the ballet bar were probably not the best idea, and that I might want to keep my heels closer to the ground now.  “Tap or jazz probably won’t be as irritating as ballet,” he said to me.  “Well,” I thought.  “At least there’s that.”  DRAT!  Never before has it been more clear to me that I am no longer an invincible 18 year old.  I know it doesn’t mean I can’t do it anymore.  Rather, I need to do it differently than I did before.  With more consciousness & compassion for where I am today.  Physically & otherwise.  And if I may say so, in spite of my “advanced dancers age”, I can still dance circles around those “kids” in class.  I may do double instead of quadruple pirouettes these days.  And I may not kick my leg behind my head anymore, or do scissor leaps in the air.  But in my humble opinion, bringing life experience, style, and storytelling skills to choreography trumps those technical tricks any day. The dancers I want to watch are telling me a story.  Same goes for singers, musicians, and (obviously) actors.

Going back to these lessons brought up other stuff tho’ too. Namely – how in God’s name did I manage my time & finances to be able to DO IT ALL when I was starting out?  Seriously!  Acting classes, dance classes, singing lessons…  Once upon a time, it was a given that I was doing all of these things.  For many hours a week.  So?  What happened?  It can’t merely be choice.  Because I love to dance.  So… Why am I not in dance class?  And what’s keeping me from continuing my voice lessons?  I feel like if God (or Universe or Spirit or whatever you wanna call it-him-her-they) gave me these abilities, I ought to be using them, enjoying them, and even making a living doing them, right?  So, what gives?

If I look back at that time when I was “doing it all”, the truth is, I wasn’t yet in the business of my business.  Know what I’m saying?  I mean… Yeah, I went to Chorus & Principal calls at the AEA audition center in NYC.  But mainly, I was temping by day to pay my rent, and when I wasn’t temping, I was in my classes.  Sometimes four hours of dancing in a day.  Plus an hour each week with my voice teacher.  Plus various acting classes multiple times per week.  I was doing all of these things because I loved it.  And I wanted to be great at these things.  I didn’t have agents yet at this point in my career, so I wasn’t auditioning nearly as much as I am now.  And I wasn’t yet cultivating the business aspect of my career, like cultivating relationships, seeking mentors, goal-setting, developing my brand, putting forth action plans, etc.  Oh, and…

I wasn’t married yet either.  That changes things.  Some things.  I certainly don’t blame marriage for not “allowing” me to go out and do these things.  And besides, my hubby couldn’t be more supportive of my endeavors.  So, yes, while I may be less inclined to go off on a 6-month European tour of Cats or 42nd Street, I’m still more than happy do a 3 month film shoot in Romania!

And while we’re on the topic of lessons…  I bought a guitar this year.  I intend to have some lessons.  Soon, hopefully.  In the meantime, I’ve taught myself a bunch of chords which I have no idea how to actually use.  Yet.  Knowing how to play the piano definitely has helped, I think.  Though there are different challenges related to my small hands & short fingers that I am trying to sort out a bit on my own before turning to a professional for guidance.

I also still think a lot about learning other languages.  My Italian studies were “rudely” interrupted when I joined a theatre company and started doing a lot of plays.  Suddenly I didn’t have the time to do my homework and practice my conversation skills with “Paulo e Isella”.  See?  Time management is everything!  How can we do it all when there are only so many hours in the day?  We have to rehearse, go to auditions, write 30 minutes a day, meditate, go to the bank, go grocery shopping, study Italian verb conjugations, see the doctor, hit the gym.  And then we go to acting class, dance class, improv class, voice lessons, guitar lessons, language lessons, pole dancing class and flying trapeze school…

[Hats off to those of you who also have children!]

Doesn’t something have to go?

I want to do it all.  I really do.  But…


Do I need to give up on sleep?  Is that how the people who “do it all” do it?

Desire.  Interest.  Passion.  Curiosity.  Yearning.  Having and feeling these things is all good news.  Maybe there’s a way to devise a rotating schedule? So as to continue nurturing and developing all of these interests & abilities, and not allow them to lie dormant?

Any ideas, suggestions, and/or stories from your personal experiences with these issues are most welcome!

In any case, an acknowledgment of the 2011 highlights is in order.

Coming up next, in part 2 of Happy End to 2011!


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