Where to now?
You ever feel like you’re having a mini mid life crisis? I think I’m having one of those right now.
I’m 37 years old, and honestly, I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. I have a great job. I get paid lots of money to sit in an office and do a minimal amount of work. I should be grateful. I know I should be happy. But, I’m not. It’s boring and unfulfilling.
A few years ago, I had a long look inside and wondered what I wanted to do. Matt and I sat down, and thought about all the things I loved. The happiest people do what they enjoy, and turn that into a living. Success isn’t about how much money you have, but how rich you feel. Rich to me isn’t about cash either. It’s about quality of life. Happiness. Waking up and felling like you’ve got a purpose.
So, I knew I liked SCUBA, I knew I wanted to try to go back to working in the media. Not really in front of the camera, but producing. I started Going Down. It was freaking awesome. There was always something new and challenging. I enjoyed looking forward to setting up the next location. I loved meeting new people. I was amazed at how much more respect people gave you as a “Producer” than as an actor. Then, I was asked to talk about all the shit that went down on Hey Dad..! I didn’t want to at first, because I felt like I was finally on a path in life. But, I knew it was the right thing to do, so I did it. Then there was all these people claiming I was only coming forward to promote Going Down, which was a load of shit. So, I shut it down. No more diving. No more travel. No more meeting awesome people. No new challenges.
The last four years have been a challenge, but not the good kind. I know I’ve changed as a person. I know it made me stronger, probably a little smarter, and a little bitter. I kept looking forward to it all being over. For four years, you just wish it would all end. Finally, we went to court. We put the bad man away. It’s not quite over, he’s still appealing, but I’m pretty much done.
So now I don’t know what’s next. The last four years I’ve spent focused on getting to court. I’ve focused on putting him away. I’ve had a few months now to decompress. I was looking forward to campaigning for new laws. To change some things. Honestly though, it’s just so hard to do anything effective in Australia when you’re living in Texas. I want to be a great ambassador for kids, but it’s a challenge when you’re 13,000 kms away.
So now I’m trying to work out what’s next. Do I start Going Down again? Do I go back to acting? I never thought I’d go back to acting, but I think it might be good to try it again, as therapy more than anything. I want to change my memories of working in TV, and know it’s not all sleazes and assholes.
I love to create things. Do I follow in my dad’s footsteps, and design clothes? I love fashion. I love make-up. I love color. I’ve had so many people tell me I should be a stylist – I’m pretty brutal about what does and doesn’t look good on someone.
I like to write. I’ve thought about studying journalism. I like to help and heal people. When I joined the guard, I was going to become an EMT…
I guess for now I’ll remain at my desk, filling out reports. But I’ll be doing lots of soul searching, trying to find direction….
2 Replies to “Searching for Direction”
Honey, I was in this place not quite a year ago. I was at law school and I loved the study but I knew being a lawyer wouldn’t make me happy. It did NOTHING to fulfil my creative side. Heck, I’d written two art books yet I’d walked away because my head had been filled with “when are you going to get a real job?”. I quit school with absolutely no clue what was next. I did not have the confidence to return to my art. So I sat around my house for 3 weeks, bored stupid.
Then I got on a plane and went to San Francisco. An art retreat was on that I wanted to go to so I just went. I figured some time in a different city where I knew no one might clear my head. It was the first time I had picked up a paintbrush in months. The retreat was great and then I just wandered around SFO for a few days.
You know what it took? I watched a short film at the California Academy of Science Planetarium about the big bang and the birth of the universe. It was awesome. It was narrated by Robert Redford and I’m sure I could listen to him read the phone book. But watching that film – I realised how random our existence is, how lucky we are (we truly are!) to be here and that I just had to put my head down and bum up. I had to make art and do what I loved. I didn’t need to care about whether I was rich or had a “real job”. I just had to be the best version of me I could be and that’s how I do that.
That was last November.
So far this year I’ve taught in 4 US cities while on a 3 month teaching tour, 2 instructional DVDs are filmed and a new book in the works. I’m traveling across the US and I didn’t have to go into a cent of debt to do it. I also removed the toxic people from my life – I too am now estranged from my Mum and as hard as it is, it’s the right thing. I needed to stop listening to the hate.
My art career is definitely in its 15 minutes – I don’t know how long it will last but I am the happiest and most fulfilled I’ve been in many years. I’m doing what I love.
My advice? Do what you love. If that’s scuba, do that. Acting – why not try again? Can you get a US agent? Why not dip the toe in and see what happens? Worst case scenario you hate it. See about getting some production work. MAKE YOUR OWN FILMS!!!
Just get out there and do it – you’re capable, talented and can be anything you want, and many of us believe in you.
Good luck with your searching….I am your age (36) and also at a crisis….though it differs, as I am unemployed since last november….due to a horrendous string of shite employers in my field….I was passionate to work in the care field (working with disabled people and also in kids homes) and worked abroad for 7 years in the UK (yep, I have seen the get me out of here in the jungle quite often ;o)
But since my return I feel I dont fit into my own country anymore as I felt that life was somehow way more tolerant in the UK than it is treating me over here…so by now my passion for my working field is pretty much gone….as I just cant believe what crap of bosses are out there these days….either bosses who don’t let you into their team (so they behave as bad as they can until you decide to resign yourself) or others who can’t speak up and let their team run the place…and yeah, just like your abuse situation, when you dare to call out someone for mistreating a disabled client, then you are the bad one…not the one who is mistreating the looked after person…
I applied back in my office work (as there used to be more peace, now of course less income as well, but at least less drama) but won’t get in…as I am out of that field since 15 years and “overqualified” with my qualification in the care field….not to mention my university degree as a social worker, which I did in the UK (which is also not necessarily helpful over here in Germany….)
So I am pretty confident to have a good idea what you are talking about…
but at least, on the plust side, I am having an awesome partner in my life….and we know that one day….life will get better again….when?….well…I guess we will see….until then, I am just happy in remaining grateful to have him in my life….
Like you, I am also interested in writing, but still searching for the right idea….
Good luck with your search for your right path….
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