It’s hard. God dammit, it’s really hard. Today it was incredibly impossible.
I’m talking about balancing your 9-5 with pursuing your passion.
Last night I had an amazing rehearsal with my sketch group, The DC Intervention. These ladies are unbelievably talented and we have so much love for each other. By midnight, we came up with a solid & original opener… and I honestly have no idea whose idea it was because it was such a group mind piece. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world.
But creativity doesn’t have an off switch. Despite being exhausted from a long day, intentionally leaving my laptop & notebook in my living room (so I wouldn’t be inspired to write), sipping on some Sleepy Time tea, and popping a dose of Melatonin, I still had to count down from a hundred to silence the great ideas flowing through my brain… only to find myself searching for a pen to jot down those same ideas in a desperate attempt to remember them in the morning.
AM wakeups are rough. Rolling out of bed after only four hours of sleep would be manageable every now and again… but this is a part of my weekly routine. Every Monday and Tuesday I have rehearsal until about midnight, Wednesdays & Thursdays are show days, and Fridays are dedicated to babysitting (so I can afford my comedy classes). All while working 9-5 during the week.
Today was hard. By 10am, I already spilled coffee on myself twice. By noon, I was in a meeting that was so long, I had a legitimate fear of pissing my pants. By 3pm, I realized that I fucked up a project and had to start over… and by 4pm, I found myself pinching the bridge of my nose to keep myself from crying at my desk.
The worst thing is that those mishaps & the fact that I’m exhausted aren’t what made my day rough. It’s that I don’t want to be here.
When I’m filling out spreadsheets, I’m listening to A.D.D. Comedy. When I’m designing an email, I’m thinking about new ways to make DC’s website more interactive. When I’m in a meeting, I’m jotting down character traits. Lunch hour transforms into ‘Get Shit Done’ hour as I put on my headphones, blast my Spotify, and write until the time runs out. The entire day, I’m itching to write, to rehearse, to daydream.
So how do I do it? Pacienca y fe. Patience and faith. (Doesn’t it sound so much better in Spanish?)
I know I don’t belong in this job. At the same time, I know that if I quit my 9-5 to follow my passion then I would be homeless. I still have so much training & work to do… and quitting my job doesn’t change that. So I have to be patient and go through the motions. When my patience runs low, then I have to have faith that it’ll all work out.
I get really frustrated sometimes. I wish that I had enough money saved to work a part-time job so I could sleep occasionally. I wonder if it’s all worth it – should I just give up, focus on my desk job career, and call it quits? I mean… how long can this really last? What are my chances of actually being successful?
When patience and faith don’t do the trick, I have to remind myself that I am already living my dream… every. single. day. Six years ago I came to Chicago just hoping that one day I’d be able to afford a single improv class. My 9-5 provides that opportunity… and if that’s the price I pay, I can get through it.
Like most of my friends, I hope to make it to the point where comedy can pay for food & rent. That’s all I need. Until then, I’ll work hard to get there. If you really want something… if you’re really passionate about it… try to make it happen. Do whatever you can to make that life for yourself and accept the fact that you may make an ass of yourself and fail miserably.
But trust me, you can’t really fail. Working from 9-5… then 6-12 (and weekends) isn’t easy. But those late night shows are where I met some of the greatest people that this life will give me. Midnight drinks after closing night are where I got the creative inspiration needed to be pushed to the next level. Those GOD AWFUL rehearsals coming off of a bad workday are where my teachers became life mentors. The long weekend workshops became the foundation for my turning point… what made me think that I could really do this. So, even if I “fail” by traditional standards… I know I’ve already succeeded. This crazy life made me happier than I ever thought I was capable of.
If it never pans out, at least I tried. God dammit, I tried.