A fateful night in June this year, a little light flickered on in a little corner of my heart that hasn’t been illuminated in years. I walked into the Singletary Center for the Arts to watch It’s a Grand Night for Singing. I couldn’t last for more than a few seconds at any given time during the show without smiling, and it occurred to me how absurd music really is – it’s a pattern and series of vibrations that people organize into an arrangement and it awakens emotions that are positively inexplicable. I can’t put a finger on exactly how I feel when I listen to music – sometimes it’s a good feeling, sometimes it’s not. Sometimes I dance, sometimes I weep. Sometimes I think hard, sometimes I just feel. Sometimes I’m not even in the mood for music, other times I can’t go for a second without it.
I love music.
But the music was only half of what made that night special – I also was reminded of what it’s like to be an actor (and, it sorta made my own personality make sense.) In the most genuine way, it’s really fun to be someone else. When I was in 6th grade, I was Winthrop from The Music Man. In 10th (I think…) I was Prospero in Shakespeare’s the Tempest. In 12th grade, I was the Wolf and Cinderella’s Prince in Sondheim’s Into the Woods (a career high, I must admit.) It’s fun to learn your lines. It’s fun to try everything a different way in the privacy of your own home or during rehearsal.
“Inflect that word a little differently.”
“Step this way instead of that way.”
“Do you think it’d be a good idea if we switched parts of our costumes for effect?”
It’s so much fun. And I forgot how fun it was until recently. And it explains why I have this tendency to notice things about people that they don’t even notice. It explains how I end up singing like Matty (or trying) when I listen to The 1975. Or how I got to the point where I imitate my boss’s laugh incessantly. Or how I pointed out to my friend Meredith that she “mmmmm”s a lot.
Little quirks. Those are the things actors notice.
I love acting.
I could wax lyrical about a bunch of things I like doing – blogging, reading, singing, taking walks, playing soccer, etc.
The point is, every soul – at least I believe – has a passion. Some sort of raison d’etre. Something that makes it pop up, perk up, and get alive. Something that fuels it, that passes the time, but doesn’t kill the time – it fills the time.
Finding that is vital. And it’s important to acknowledge that just because you find it, it doesn’t mean that all of life becomes easy or that you even carry that high on to your other endeavors – that’s unrealistic. It’s also important not to shun or despise other things in life because they’re not as special as your “thing,” whatever it is. If you’re a chef or a server for a living, don’t hate your job because you’re not at home reading. If you’re a professional writer, don’t detest it because you’re not out running or hiking. Let everything play off of each other. Take the highs and the lows – the good with the bad. It’s okay for everything to not be perfect and special and high. It’s just realistic that way. It makes the highs higher and the lows more palatable.
Find what you love and do it – to whatever degree you find it necessary – and do it as long as you want and as much as you want, enjoy and soak up this life so long as you aren’t harming yourself or others in the process.