When I first moved to Chicago, a non actor friend of mine asked me how long I was going to pursue acting before giving up. My answer: I’m not going to give up. When I was preparing to move to L.A. last month, someone (this time an actor) asked me what timeline I was giving myself for succeeding in L.A. This time my answer was: I don’t have a timeline.
Both of these questions struck me as odd. Why would I ever limit myself to a set number of years to pursue my career?
I know a lot of actors struggle with whether or not to quit. It’s honestly never crossed my mind. It’s part of who I am. I have no idea what else I’d do. I love it because it changes with me. I can play parts now I couldn’t do in my 20s. I’ll be able to play new roles in 10 years that I can’t play now. That’s exciting to me. That doesn’t mean it’s always easy. It’s hardly ever easy. But isn’t everything hard?
I want to spend time doing what I love. I understand a career in the arts has no set path and that’s what prompts people to ask those questions. But that’s exactly the reason I love it. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m more successful now than I was five years ago. That’s something I wouldn’t have known had I given myself a timeline. Or quit the first 10 (or 20 or 50) times I wasn’t cast.
If you love acting and it’s what you want to do, try getting rid of your timeline. You may have to open yourself up to a different idea of what you think your career should look like. Maybe your focus changes or evolves over time and you start doing comedy instead of drama or plays instead of improv shows. You could have never predicted that. That’s fun! Maybe along the way you discover some other passion that you love more than acting and you start a brand new career that makes you super happy. FUN! Maybe you’re reading this right now and realize you hate acting. Great! Go start your new life right away. (Also- this is cool: acting will always be there to do again later!)
It all comes down to where you want to put your focus. Mine happens to be acting. What’s yours?