In an attempt to keep myself occupied, I signed up for an improv comedy class. I was scared, insecure and nervous. Last Saturday was my class recital – before an actual audience. And. I. LOVED. It. It was a rush.
For having a self-described fear of public speaking, I loved being up there. Not only did I perform, but I wound up being the spokesman for the class that night. I tried to NOT be the spokesman by doing “not it”, but no one else said it so I was the one. Truth be told, I’m glad I did that, too. Ultimately I want to be out there.
Looking at myself with an open eye, it comes as no surprise that I like it. I like making a fool of myself. I make up things regularly in order to try and be amusing. Improv is just pretty much me. Now to learn how do actually do it as opposed to just being an idiot with my friends.
Level two classes are set to start and I have signed up for mixed troupes under my theaters umbrella called “Protostar”. It is going to be a lot of work, but it should be with any craft. I have started listen to a podcast on improv and even the people out of improv that have made it have put a LOT of work in. No one seems to be a natural.
I know at 48 that there is all but no chance of going anywhere with this. But right now I love it and will keep at it; working and listening and studying. I will also be making a fool of myself on stage whenever I can.
Lately, I have been asking myself “what do I want to be when I grow up?” Thinking about it has raised another question. As a society we seem to have made this question mean the same as “What do I want to DO when I grow up?” BOTH of these questions are just the same way of asking “How do you make money?”
I’m not going to go off on the obsession with money, it’s not quite the point. But why do this? Why do we need to base our selves on our jobs? There are some cases where this can be true: Doctor, Nurse, Teacher, Pope… But for the most part our jobs are just small parts of our lives; hopefully.
Yes, I am an engineer; but that is just my education and my job. This is not the soul definition of me, though. I am so much more. In fact, for years my job has seemed to be at odds with how I live the rest of my life and how I perceive myself. Right now the engineer gig is at an all-time low for me which is leading to this existential rambling. So many questions.
What do I want to be BE?
- I want to be happy.
- I want to be a wise-ass.
- I want to be a good friend.
- I want to be a good man.
What do I want to DO? I have so many ideas of things I want to do:
- I want do Improv Comedy
- I want to start a new political party
- I want to publish a book
- I want to act in a play
- I want to learn the cello
- I want to shake the willfully ignorant awake
- I want to make people jealous of my life
- I want to punch the GOP in the face
- I want to sing better
- I want to make people regret being assholes to me
- I want to get people to whom I was an asshole to forgive me
- I want to run a non-profit
- I want to start a social movement that changes the world
But how many of these can realistically be turned into a job? Damned if I know. That’s a much harder question right now.
I’m forty-eight years old. My job sucks. My finances are in the tubes due to said sucking job and several bad financial decisions involving following my heart. There is one question that revolves around these things that I’m having an issue with…
What do I want to be when I grow up?
The answer is an emphatic: “I don’t fucking know!”
I really have no idea where to go from here. There is the comfort of sliding into another position in the same field and hope it’s better. A sideways move into a related field may be a better fit for me. Throwing it all to the wind I can strike out into something utterly new and unrelated; both exciting and scary.
All three of these options are equally likely right now because on top of it all, the industry that I’m in is completely bottoming out. I know of people with degrees and experience getting laid-off and unable to get new jobs because there aren’t any; at least none for mid-career types. The openings seem to be all entry level or PHD, not a lot in between. I’m falling into the experience gap.
So, here I am, floundering; on the job and money things anyway. The rest of my life is pretty great. I have a great new boyfriend, fantastic friends and I’m reconnecting with family. It’s hard to keep these great aspects on my life. But I do my best.