“If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the present.” ― Lao Tzu
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to speak to a group of high school theatre students about my career in the arts. They asked questions about my path, which was an unexpected, and much needed, outlet to a boost of self-confidence. Like most, I am my toughest critic. Paraphrasing my new favorite line from Sondheim's COMPANY, I become self-reflective: "If other people did to you what you do to yourself they could be put in jail." Though, describing my path to all of these high school students led me to realize, I owe myself a pat on the back.
I can celebrate the fact that I have more ideas/projects in mind than I will ever be able to accomplish. However, I often find myself getting caught up in all of the work that I want to do, and I begin to think about how I haven't done any of this work yet; which makes me simultaneously anxious for the future and depressed about the past. Why am I not at peace with the present?
I have been part of some phenomenal work. But more importantly: For every phenomenal piece, I have been a part of even more of not-so-great pieces. Which I am so lucky to have in my repertoire. I kept telling the high school students to start/keep creating work. To make your mistakes now, to get them all out of your system. Not to wait for your work to be perfect. Borrowing a philosophy that a new person in my life has taught me: "It's easy to create something boring, and uninteresting, but it's difficult to create something amazing. Do you want the work to be easy?"
No. I absolutely do not want the work to be easy.
I haven't been writing enough, not enough plays, enough films, and especially blog posts. I want the words to come naturally, and I want the readers to be amazed. But I need to accept that in order to write this not-yet-existent amazing blog post, I need to write more often. I need to get all of my mistakes out. It needs to be difficult in order to be amazing.
Here I go.