I'm a happier man at the top of the run this year than I was last. 2011 started and ended well, but in the middle, the trail got rocky, not enough work, not enough confidence saved up from all-to-brief weeks of work for the long flat stretch of months during which all I seemed to do was ride the bus back and forth from NYC for auditions. And I seemed to grind my edges relentlessly on rocks in on camera acting classes in which I just couldn't seem to find the click; couldn't quite translate hard-earned stage skills into usable skills in the relentlessly-new-to-me and exotic terrain of episodic t.v. and film. It took a half dozen workshops and a wad of tuition money before, finally, I began to figure out how to get those smaller, less-used muscles to work.
But I stuck with it, and the new skills did finally begin to take, and the stage work grew more consistent, and my expectations for how it should all go have become better aligned with the realities of how things really are. By the time I got into late summer/early Autumn, I began to relax, enjoy what was I was doing at the moment, and looked ahead more eagerly than I had in months. Philadelphia finally felt more like home just as I was hitting the road for out-of-town gigs that would keep me mostly out of Philly for the next 18-36 months, depending on how it all goes. The New York Theater scene began to feel less alien. My own long-simmering writing projects began to feel more doable, and are now a way to balance my stage work, not least of all by giving me something to do when not on stage. My love life stabilized nicely. And, by now, I can say I'm the most genuinely content with myself in the world than I have... well, perhaps have ever been (my sister's reaction to that last statement was, "knock me over with a feather!")
So, as of now, 14 out of the next 19 months are booked, I get to travel a lot for both work and play (since I can keep my expenses ridiculously low by not paying any rent or mortgage, having given up on keeping an apartment until such time as I'm actually in one place long enough to use one,) I enjoy my colleagues and friends, and I'm in pretty good health. It's a good time....
And from it I hope to gain strength for the not-as-good times which will, of course, come 'round again. Life is nothing if not seasonal.*
*(which, by the way, is my answer to Bill Maher (whom we saw in concert at the Waikiki Shell on New Year's Eve, last night) when he asks: what is religion good for? What religions does well is help us gather ourselves for the cyclical seasons of our lives; spirituality, to me, is about sowing and reaping our spiritual harvests--harvests of both our individual and communal emotional lives. What religion does badly is... everything else. I'd like Maher to better understand the difference between Belief and Faith--the former is dangerous, the later, necessary.)