Can I make a U-Turn here?

March 11, 2008


Last night, I talked with my mom for about 2 hours (or so it seemed) discussing my newest crisis, briefly touched on in my last post: My feeling that since senior year of high school, I’ve been going after an idea of a life that in actuality, I really don’t want to be living. I’m starting to question the path I’ve been on, which is scary for someone like me who likes to have a plan, zero in on that plan, and do nothing but go after things that fall in line with that plan, moving it forward to reach an ultimate goal. This causes minor (read:major!!!) panic attacks when I start to question the path and the plan, because everything I’ve done has only been done in pursuit of this fabulous plan, so if I suddenly decide that this ultimate goal isn’t what I want, then haven’t I been wasting all this time? God, I hope not…My mom in her perfect motherly way reassured me that nothing is definite. My life can take any path I want it to and nothing I’ve done is invaluable, no matter what I decide to do with my career. That sounds great, but I still can’t help but making this noise in my mind every half hour…Bah! Why do I have to do this now? I’m so close to being down with college. Why why WHY must all these doubts have to come out now? Questions like do I really want to live in a huge, impersonal city? Do I really want to spend my twenties working 80 hours a week running errands for some bitter executive, hoping and praying he or she will let me into that story meeting this afternoon? If there is something I am passionate about that would actually allow me to help people, that would allow me to have a job I love that wouldn’t cause me to have a mental break down at 30, wouldn’t that be the better choice?My professor told us a story about how one day she was sitting in an edit suite as the clock struck midnight and the only thought she had was “Have I seen my kids today?” That scared me. I want kids. I want a life where I am able to see those kids regularly, to take weekends to visit my parents or my friends. I do want to work, don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to get married, get pregnant, and never leave my house. I just want to do something I love, and I think I can find things I love more than being an assistant and going to “hot” clubs every weekend. I liked the idea of working in television, but the business of it is brutal and impersonal and just…mean. I sound naive and obnoxious – I sound like I don’t like it out here. I do like it. I like being here as a college student. I like it here as a learning experience, but I’m so undecided on if I would like it as a life. As my life.This is why I shouldn’t stay home – too much time to think. And research things like this. It takes me back to what I wanted to do my senior year of high school. I decided I didn’t want to be an actor or a director, and I somehow threw out all theater with that decision. Around graduation, I was so burnt out from my year-long theater binge – Asst. directing the fall play straight into performing in Suessical overlapping into performing in Sound of Music with Cabaret Company, Play Projects and Winter Workshop thrown in for fun – that I decided I needed a break from theater. Thus my foray into the similar world of television and film. Now, I find myself remembering how much theater helped me growing up: remembering how much fun I had working at camp this past summer directing the camp musicals and playing improv games with my kids. The job was tough and stressful, but also creative. I had responsibility, and I had huge rewards. Nothing beat sitting backstage and watching the kids perform something I helped them create and having them thank me for giving them a chance to be on stage. This then leads to thinking how much nicer of a life that might be – giving theater to kids, living where ever I want – a huge point when I’ve gotten used to the idea that in TV and Film there are basically two (and really…only one) places you can live to work. I would get to have responsibilities earlier on, and I would get those rewards that may not be as big monetarily, but may be SO much more fulfilling.Not that I don’t love television and everything I’ve done in college. I am starting to suspect, however, that my love of watching television will always outshine my love of making television. Whereas, I’ve had a love of making theater my whole life. There was not a summer I didn’t go to theater camp, a time I didn’t listen to Broadway musicals, or a spring I didn’t attend every high school musical being put on in my area. My whole college career may have been preparing me for a life in the entertainment industry, but my whole life seems to have been preparing me for the theater world.I’m really just thinking out loud here, because I am so confused by this turn of events. I’m not usually this serious and contemplative. I would just rather think out these things now rather than move to LA after graduation only to have a nervous breakdown 6 months later thinking I made the wrong choice. This is why I came out to LA now, isn’t it? So I could make sure that this is where I wanted to go. Isn’t it just as valuable to discover that this isn’t what I want as it would be to discover that this is exactly what I want? Yeah, I thought so.



  1. Hey Amanda, so first off I’m glad you updated (yay – OK, now on to the meat of my comment) and secondly, I want you to know that, even though I think I’m eight hours time zone difference away, I’m here for you if you need to chat. Or if you need to bite that theater bug again, haha.

    The world is a big, scary place. But somehow, I can’t shake this feeling that you might make a difference…
    to the Human Race.

  2. Amanda, my love, you have terrified me with this entry. I’ve always been afraid of going out to Los Angeles and having similar realizations–that years ago I put myself on a path that I’m unable to deviate from, a path that might make success impossible. Though instead of theater, I’ve considered photography.

    Having said that, it seems like many of the best have dabbled in many fields–look at Julie Taymor! And the best tv shows and movies, in my eyes, are the ones that are most theatrical. You’ve got so much knowledge about television, and you’re so well-spoken that I cannot imagine you being anything less than outrageously successful.

    When you return to BU, you should take Directing with Alex, Lauren, Josh, and I! It might be a delightful blend of theater and television 🙂

    love love love love, miss you, keep your chin up, fly your kite, love love love love.

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