Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Quitting Not in this Mans Vocab

Lately it seems like every time I log in to Facebook, someone is either pregnant or getting married. Having kids or getting divorced. I always thought, growing up, that having a big family was for the birds and that I would be happiest as a bachelor for life. But as I get closer to thirty, I feel that little part of my 'grinch-green' heart begin to tug at me. It says, "Hey man, you're not getting any younger! It's time to stop being selfish and settle down for once!" Is it selfish to follow your dreams? To pursue your passion? At what point is one suppose to give up and settle down?

By my 26th birthday I had lived in 7 states and several major cities, including New York City and recently Los Angeles. When I was 12 years old my mom convinced me to audition for a local theater company in Columbia, Missouri by the name Columbia Entertainment Company. I considered myself an athlete because I played pee-wee football every year....but who was I kidding. Walking on to that stage, I was instantly in love. I was enamored with the attention and the ability to transform yourself or pretend to be someone else. Not only that but people would stand up and clap for you when you were finished?! Amazing! I have pursued music and acting ever since. I've been out west for almost two years now and I have to admit, it doesn't get easier. Unfortunately, I was hit with a harsh reality that the cliche, "it's not what you know, it's who you know" is very, very true. The hardest part about being a 'performing artist' is the constant fear of rejection; living with a never-ending insecurity that you're not good enough or that you never know where your next meal is coming from. Being from the mid west, the media and society makes life in Hollywood look so, totally glamorous. Guess what? It's quite the opposite. Between the cost of living, the politics and the fake personalities you deal with on a daily basis, it is far from a beautiful lifestyle. It's a daily networking battle, marketing every second, trying to get your name out there.

I attended a performing arts school in NYC after high school, thinking it would catapult me into success. While it does look good on a resume, the "Hollywood types" in LA could really care a less. It's such a reality TV world out there now. And again, if your last name doesn't ring a bell like Jake or Maggie Gyllenhaal's parents or Scott Caan's dad, you’re at the bottom of a very long waiting list. The question is: do you have the patience to wait? To be honest, I was afraid for the longest time of ever venturing out west. People told me for years that I should just drop everything and do it or that I wasn't getting any younger. They were right. I am considered to be in my 'older years' in the modeling world for sure.

On one hand, I do have the urge to settle for a steady paycheck and start a family. Mow the yard and pay a mortgage. But the biggest part of me still refuses to leave any rock unturned. I don't want to be laying on my 'death bed' wondering "what if". A lot of folks squirm at the idea of such instability but the truth is: I like my life. I like not punching a clock. I like being my own boss and making my own schedule. And although this sounds crazy, it's kind of exciting not knowing when my next paycheck is coming. It makes the battle so much more fulfilling when you finally land a gig and head to the bank, knowing that you're a survivor in the craziest city on the planet.

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