I stared at the offer sitting before me. I’d been in this spot many times before, but the difference was: previously I’d smoked through accepting an offer and moved on to the next phase of my life without a second thought.
But for some reason this one in particular felt like a big decision for me. Like it was the portal into a different way of being in the world, one which I fearfully acknowledged I couldn’t come back from if I really wanted to.
Maybe it was because I knew, after the bumpy few years I’d been having, steering through trying to figure out what I wanted my career to look like, that I was too deep in the game now and that, very soon, there wouldn’t be any more outs left to turn to. This could very well be the last feasible crutch I have left before life decides to unleash itself in all its terrifying glory for me to stand my ground against.
For me this week has been a week of crossroads. There have been a lot of life decisions circling around me these last few weeks, each with their own attached timers ticking down to a point of no return and permanence in my life, which has added a sense of brooding to these few weeks.
They mainly have to do with my career aspirations, and what sort of shape I want that to take. It’s something that I’m always thinking lots about (being in my 20’s), and importantly as well the question of: how does magic fit into this picture? That’s a question I’ve never had a definitive answer for. Magic and performing was always part of the picture – it always will be – but to what degree, that was always and still is a matter that is up in the air.
I’m at a point where decisions have to be made firmly, and ones which will determine the course of my foreseeable working life.
I get nervous when it comes to making big decisions like this. I’ve never been good at making decisions ever, and the fact that these ones have big implications for my future doesn’t make the job any easier.
So many questions continually circle my head: will doing this be the right choice? Am I doing right by being guided by who I really am or am I being guided by fear? Am I committing to living in the moment, or have I deferred living in the present to some distant future, one where I’m supposedly safe and secure? Have I made the right sacrifices to commit to a life full of responsibility and therefore meaning every day?
I think a part of this has to do with my inability to really embrace change. I’ve always been an emotional person, so the idea of letting go of things that part of me holds dear is a daunting prospect. I’ve always struggled this, and to be honest, I’ve always tried to avoid it.
Philosophically I’ve always understood the need for change. The requirement that if someone is to reach their own pre-ordained potential as a human being, they would need to go through a continual series of progressive changes: identifying with the ancient mono-myth, heroically marching into voluntary symbolic death to then be reborn like a phoenix, so that – at the end of everything – the form that emerges after going this process countless times is the best possible human that could exist at that moment. I’ve always known about this and its importance in the story of what it is to be the optimal human, but I’ve always struggled with enacting it in my personal life on personality grounds.
A lot of it has to do with the fact that I’m rather nostalgic. I tend to get lost in my own thoughts, thinking over times past and reliving them fondly in my head. Maybe it’s a defence mechanism for the often frightening reality of the present, but it provides me with brief moments of mental peace from time to time. The idea of change then, naturally, never really meshed with how I’m made up personality-wise. Nostalgia and a mind fond of the past makes you want to hold onto anything good that you’re experiencing currently and never let it go. Cleaning my room, for example, was always an emotionally draining task because I have trouble dispensing with all the various items I kept due to the attached memories. I’d often start cleaning and before I know it realize that an hour’s gone past, and that all I have succeeded in doing was remember some obscure thing that happened to me many many years ago which apparently still has an emotional hold on me.
Cleaning my room is still a difficult task. But I see the importance of doing it. How else is one to become top lobster – right buckos?
Funnily enough, this reminds me of something Lisa Kudrow once mentioned in a commencement speech which gave me a sense of solace. She said that your 20’s are supposed to be full of indecision; they’re supposed to be the decade where you’re dealing with many different crossroads in your life. At some point you will have to close some doors, but the flipside to that is that others will open in their place.
I found it incredibly heart-warming to hear her speak from experience when it came to validating this point. The story of her journey from being fired from Frasier, and completely freaking out because everyone knew Frasier was going to be a big hit. In other words, this was her shot and she thought that she blew it – imagine being Lisa at that point in her life, that would be enough to lay even the most optimistic aspiring actor/actress low I would think. I could be wrong; I’m not an actor after all.
But then to have been cast off the back of that as Phoebe from Friends is just one of those stories that is one in a million, but absolutely brings credence to the notion that when you close a certain door, other doors definitely open in their place. Sometimes – very rarely – the door that opens is no ordinary door, but a portal into a different mode of being in the world, one that is truly wondrous and everything you ever dreamed of without realizing it.
But you wouldn’t get the chance to experience that if you didn’t consciously decide to close other doors first.
This all didn’t hit me fully until I was watching EDEN performing at the Powerstation a couple of weeks ago. That, and also the fact that life is marching on. Slowly, sure, but definitely moving on.
It’s not stopping for anyone, and time continues to tick life along. Time doesn’t favour the good, time doesn’t favour the bad. Time just is. And it always will be.
As I watched the dancing lights illuminate the dark room, I was reminded of just how delicate a life this is and, in the scheme of things, how transient our time on Earth is. It’s so short, and if we’re not careful we run the risk of letting it slip away from us if not for moments like this, the one I was in at the time – moments which force us to be entirely present and to appreciate the richness of the moment.
I dwelled on all this in silence as I watched the crowd roar their approval after EDEN finished playing my personal favourite from his album Vertigo, a track called ‘gold’.
Take him for example: how did EDEN know whether or not he wanted to be a musician? Did he know all his life that this is what he wanted, or did he hop from job to job before settling on performing as a profession? Surely there must have been a moment in his life where he thought to himself “yes, this is what I am”. I mean – doesn’t everyone have that moment? Or are people sort of winging it as they go through life, in which case I’m fretting too much over nothing.
Doesn’t really matter. Even if I knew what drove EDEN to become a musician, I don’t think it would really help me.
This reminds me of something else though. Some philosopher must have said it ages ago, but it’s in my head because someone I look up to recently paraphrased his sayings as part of a stage show. And I find it quite fitting for where I’m at right now in life:
“When we dance, the journey itself is the point. When we play music the playing itself is the point…the only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance”
I decided in the end to let life be as it was meant to, and to let it express itself fully as it had chosen to manifest itself through me.
I decided to join the dance.