Considering the more-than-average amount of baggage I brought with me into acting--such as stage fright, social anxiety, ossified personal habits--I'm okay with my progress thus far. I've already come further than I expected possible. Of course, my expectations keep going up--so satisfaction remains constantly out of reach--but, at very least, I am much closer to the man--if not the actor--I want to be, because I've made a consequential decision about my life and, hell or high water, have stuck with it. That's the way it's done, of course, but I came late to that understanding.
I miss my writing ambitions, but my problem was that writing kept me locked up inside my head in unhealthy ways. I'm a physical guy. I need to be in my body. And despite my various incompetencies--e.g., I can't really dance, I'm awkward (if passable) in stage combat--theater keeps me there. As a close friend of mine says, "there's a lot to be said for embodiment."
I haven't had the natural--that is, untutored--talent to proceed any faster 'up the ladder' than I am. I'm skipping no rungs (unlike talented colleagues who I predict will bolt fairly quickly upward). My progress is apprentice and journeyman like. Despite my many pessimistic moments that's fine with me. This slow progress is keeping me grounded. I probably should not enjoy 'success' at any faster rate than I would want to enjoy losing weight and getting physically fit (which I also did during this time. Five years ago, I was 60 pounds heavier and much unhealthier than I am now.) Losing weight too quickly leads to panic as one's self-identity changes too rapidly and leads to backsliding. I believe it's the same with other changes one decides to make to one's soul (and, yes, losing weight is a shift in one's soul.) Slow and steady works for me.
I'm more excited about the next five years than I've ever been about any previous period of my life.