I responded today to a quiz that a friend put on my facebook wall. I usually ignore these kinds of things but I was stone cold bored with sitting alone in my office wordsmithing a proposal. The fill-in-the-blank quiz gave you an age (29 in my case) and you had to fill in where you were what you were doing and so on.
29 was a long time ago. I actually had to do the math to figure out what year it was, and cheat a look at a poster to try and place myself. That year I got an apartment with my boyfriend (now husband), went back to school to finish the long abandoned undergrad degree, worked full time as an actor and director and started preliminary conversations with friends about starting a non-profit. I think I had a lot more energy then.
Part of what was interesting about the trip down memory lane was remembering that I used to be quite fearless. And poor. And not afraid of being poor. Heady days.
Yesterday I was talking to a coach about some career uncertainty I am experiencing and she had me run down my resume. I skimmed over holding a high level position at a local theater for 8 years and founding a nonprofit, and she slowed me down asking did I write the grants. Yes I wrote the grants and reports, and all the PR, and I did the voice spots and press interviews, and filed all the paperwork to be a 501(c)3 and everything else (with the help of my dedicated feminist board). She said “Wow”.
It was all so long ago I forgot that any of it might sound impressive. I rarely talk about those theatre days or even think that someone would care to know. For fifteen years of my life theatre was my reality 7 days a week, 12 (or more) hours a day. Seems odd now that I think of how completely I left it behind. I “came out of retirement” 8 or 9 years ago when I directed a controversial play about abortion, but it was tough working a straight job, having a little kid and dealing with actors & designers at night, so that was the last play.
My daughter really likes the fact that I used to be in theatre. Unfortunately I worked in experimental theatre, and musical theatre is what they offer kids around here. I can neither sing nor dance, so she has no advantage because of my background. If she persist in her interest maybe some day we can have a mother daughter experience in The Madwoman of Chaillot. I’m nearly old enough to play Countess Aurelia (one of the few roles I’ve always coveted) and she could be the The Flower Girl.
I don’t know if I will ever act or direct again but remembering myself at 29 was useful. It’s not that I was once fearless and am now fearful, but that I somehow forgot the fearlessness was there at all. I used to play with fire after all.