I will follow back!
Looking for a job right now sucks, but that’s not what I’m really thinking about. I’m in a scripted show right now, the celebrated play about teaching evolution, Inherit the Wind, and I’ve had a great time. No doubt, whatsoever, that my background in improvisational theater has helped me create the two characters I play in this show. When I’ve had a couple of the principal actors mention to me that they like the work I’m doing, it feels really good. Still, my mind wanders back to improv, or more to the point, it wanders to the idea that I’m not doing improv anymore. And I think I’ve finally determined…
In fact, the last improvisation show I went to was in Chicago sometime around September. Though the performers were top notch, and one or two were actually my friends, I found I was forcing myself to laugh. So I drank more than I had intended, stayed for the second show, and the same thing happened: forcing myself to laugh and hoping that I would find a genuine laugh in there somehow. I didn’t, and after a final drink around 1 am, I tottered to the Brown Line L train at Belmont, and sank into a seat so I could change trains down in the Loop, in Chicago’s downtown. After changing to the orange line, taking it near the apartment I lived in then, and eating an over-large portion of White Castle burgers, I staggered the mile or two home. I must have been pretty pathetic, because a guy, drunker than me and swerving on his mountain bike, looped back around to make sure I was okay. I told him I was, but thanks for asking.
And that was it, I was done with improv. I was even in an improv class at that point, but I was about to move back to Philadelphia, and I didn’t go back for the last class/show. To be fair, it didn’t fit into my travel/moving itinerary, but it wasn’t a big loss to me that I couldn’t attend. The people in the class were/are incredibly talented, and it probably would have been/was a great show, but I wasn’t there to say one way or the other.
And that’s when it hit me: improv has become baseball in my life.
I played baseball for 5 years, from age 5 to age 10. Every year, I’d join, and by three weeks in, I’d complain that I hated it, but my mom wouldn’t let me quit, because I’d bugged all winter to play in the Spring. 5 years we went through that, until age 10, when I was on the worst team in the little league and caught a baseball in the face during a game, which led me to quit the team, and baseball, summarily. The reason I equate the two now, though I never got hit in the face with terrible bits or rubber chickens, is that I got into the same rut with improv, about 3 years in. I started hating it in cycles, and wanting to quit, but never doing it because the laughter would come and waft me forward. Truth was, though, I wasn’t experiencing the joy even in the good moments.
My move to Chicago helped me gain perspective on it, and moreover, that I was lacking joy in a lot of things in my life. Maybe it’s the depression I don’t get treated for, maybe it’s being almost 35 and having not figured out what I want to do with my life. What I do know is that I can’t keep trying to make up everything, that, like a good scripted piece of theater, I need a plan, and I need to sit down and do that work for myself, for my life, and for my (eventual) greater happiness.
Right now, it’s okay that I’m miserable and at-sea with a lot of things, because there are things in my life that are bringing me joy. I just had to move 1000 miles away and come back to find them.
But that’s another story.
The more I am connecting to the digital intangible world, the less I feel connected to the real world around me. Most of you don’t seem to have this problem, but then, how would I really know? Maybe some of you are suffering this same imbalance that I am. How do you deal with it? I’d appreciate your input on that.
I’m looking for a new job now, but until I land one, I’ve got an opportunity to make some changes by putting down my digital leash and start using the rest of me by getting outside. Any suggestions for this for this couch potato pancake will be eagerly accepted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Will I overcome my inertia and see you on the other side of Walden?
All you need for this workout is a stack of hardcovers and some yarn or rope to tie them together!
Workout #1: The Book Curl
Workout #2: The Book Up
Workout #3: The Brunch (Book Crunch) - Just like brunch this can be done alone or with a friend!
This is a workout I can get behind.