I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of TIME. Not necessarily in terms of aging, but in terms of linear and non-linear time, and how it relates to life goals, my career, and my overall personal goals.
I don’t know if it’s the same for everyone, but I’ve found that the passing of time becomes very evident when there are children in your life. I have ten young nieces and nephews, and many friends with young children. My oldest niece just turned ten, and it hit me that my life memories after the age of ten are very vivid. I have memories younger than that of course, but from age 10 onward the memories are solid, vivid, and permanent. I was ten when my family moved out of south-west Philadelphia and into the suburbs, where I left Catholic school behind and began attending public school. I remember it like it was yesterday. And now, my niece is ten.
In the past few months, a career opportunity circled back into my life from over a decade ago, and this also has me examining the passage of time and where I am now relative to where I was when I first worked with that project. See, if you had asked me two months ago, where I was in life, I think my answer would have been different than it is today – having these 2 months of self-reflection—okay, let’s be honest…and this self-judgement I’ve been pouring over myself, I’ve been feeling like a bit of a failure. If my career was further along, this project from the past would recognize me in a whole different light. Instead, I feel like – you know that old board-game, “Head of the Class”, kind of like chutes and ladders? That’s what I’m feeling. Like here I was, cruising along, feeling like I was at the head of the class, and then BOOM I failed an important test…. and I’m sent all the way back down to find myself sitting in the elementary school desks that are entirely too small for me.
Last night, I was digging through my email archives, and experiencing a bit of a retrospective of my career. I stumbled upon a few emails I had written out in 2006, where I was asked by a mentor to breakdown my specific career goals in terms of 1 month, 3-6 months, and 9-12 months. As I was reading over this very detailed, very obtainable and exciting career goal list from 2006, it shocked me to see that only about 10% of that list has been accomplished, and those other things are STILL on the goal list. It’s not like I can say I moved on from those goals, they’re still on the damn list. Now granted, I’ve accomplished dozens of other things, that weren’t on that list, I can give myself that credit, but the things on that list, are important career goal-posts that for whatever reason, 12 years later, still haven’t happened.
So here I am, spiraling further down into self-judgement land, so I hit pause and took a meditative vinyasa yoga class. I focused on the poses, and clearing my mind, and by the time we finished up with a seated meditation and shavasana happened, I had quiet tears streaming down my cheeks, and felt more space had opened to forgive myself for all the ways I believe I’ve let myself down.
On the way home, I spoke to a friend on the phone, a fellow actress, about my age, who’s been at it about a decade longer than I have. She’s got a very no-nonsense, matter-of-fact, yet positive look on this industry, and she said something that really made me take pause. She said, “Leah, I don’t look at this industry as being linear in time. There’s nothing linear about this career. Sometimes my name is the first one on the call-sheet, and sometimes I’m a background player. The only thing that matters is that I’m happy to be there, and I’m happy to be making a living in the entertainment industry, regardless of the size or prestige of the role.”
Ah, there’s that happy thing again…. Reminds me of the article I wrote a few months ago, asking the question, What’s It All For? At a certain point, it feels a little like the chicken and the egg riddle, what comes first? But time and time again, experts point to the fact that being happy, being content, living in a state of gratitude, is the quickest way to expand your abundance and achieve your goals.
I guess sometimes you must go back to the start, sort it all out, and take a reassessment of where you’ve been and whether the road you’re climbing contributes to your happiness. And here we are, in the final months of 2018, feels like a good time to take inventory. I’m looking forward to some down-time with my family, holiday celebrations and lots and lots of cuddles for Aunt Leah. In the meantime, I’m going to do my best to forgive myself for my faults, and goals I haven’t accomplished yet, and remind myself that the universe is always conspiring in our favor.
Here’s a lovely song in the Kundalini yoga tradition, that I love to meditate to, perhaps it will help you out the next time you find yourself spiraling into the land of self-judgement.