Time Wasting / Life Wasting

I was talking to Stuart today and the shortness of life came up in the conversation. I said that I find the shortness daunting because there’s a lot to do and not much time to do it. And though this topic was a new one in our conversation, it was more like a continuation of the discussion/argument/scolding I’ve been having with myself lately. To put it plainly, I sometimes feel like I’m wasting my life. Don’t get me wrong: sometimes, it’s exactly the right thing for me to have to good, hard-earned relaxing time where the only thing I need to do is laugh at the wit of Gilmore Girls or turn the page of a book or scroll through my social networking site of choice for a bit. To do things like that is healthy once in awhile.

But these days, I feel like I’m not doing anything that matters. Sure, I have jobs and I do them when I’m scheduled to do them. But serving people cocktails and teaching them about chocolate isn’t exactly meaningful. And my acting career isn’t exactly setting the world on fire (not that I’m not overjoyed to be in my show. I AM. I will cover that later.) I just think that having a month like November was for me really showed me what it’s like to actually, properly waste time. In November, the first of its kind in which I did NOT have schoolwork, I did not write a novel, as I have for the past three years and amid shows, classes, and life in general. I also did not work on the play I was so excited about in September and October. I did not socialize. I worked and I wasted time in my apartment doing things that meant absolutely nothing.

In my defense (or rather, as Stuart pointed out to me and I grudgingly agreed), November involved me doing a lot of emotional work. I had some panic attacks. I mentally abused myself. I had an actual breakdown. I cried a lot. I realized I needed to go back to therapy. All of that took time and energy (not all of it mine.) But, beyond figuring out that I needed professional help, it all come to nothing of worth. And I’m not a person who sits well with more-than-once-in-awhile wasting time. ESPECIALLY because I didn’t even have fun wasting it.

I think it’s especially hard to deal with all of this time-wasting because I’m doing it in a new life, of sorts. For the past seventeen years, I’ve had my fair share of breakdowns (generally at least once a year), listeless times, and just plain old procrastination, but I was always in school. And whether I actually liked writing those papers or taking those finals (answer: I probably didn’t), or whether the show was going well or not, I ALWAYS DID THOSE THINGS. No matter my mood or my state of mind or my nervousness, when something needed to be done, I did it. The papers were written. The finals were studied for (though perhaps not as well as they could have been) and were taken. The show, as the saying goes, went on. All of this happened through whatever emotional state was reigning in my head at the time. I knew what was expected of me, and I did it. Maybe not to the level I could have, but I still did it.

But now that I’m out in the “real world,” there aren’t papers to turn in or finals to take. Sure, there are bills to pay and rules at work, but it’s not the same. It’s much more of a free-for-all existence. I have a lot more choice, and most of the time, that’s more daunting than exciting. I feel like I’m making the wrong use of my time. The only time I feel where I’m where I’m supposed to be, doing something that matters, is at rehearsal. And I was without that comfort for seven months. I’m not saying that my little children’s theatre show is going to rock the world or anything. But it might rock someone’s world, and even if that someone is me, that’s good enough. Because it’s my life, and I love performing.

When I was without that comfort, however, I was completely lost. Even though my time in the rehearsal room or onstage is far too fleeting, I at least have that now. In November, and all those months before, I didn’t even have that, and I really felt like my time was just being wasted. I missed the world of school, the world of small accomplishments like homework and tests. I was good at that world, but now I’d graduated from it. I started desperately looking at grad schools, thinking maybe that was the answer to my problems.

In the end, though, I know that even if I do go to grad school (I’ve decided almost 100% that I will… one day), that, too, will end, and I’ll be dumped back into the real world with another artsy degree that I love and am proud of but that doesn’t do me an incredible amount of good outside of the training. But I still crave the safety of knowing what’s expected of me at all times and being able to achieve those small, constant things. I think that’s one reason why I love doing shows so much- I know that while I can play and experiment within the context of a show, what’s expected of me is to play my character as well as I can. I’m there to tell a story. I don’t feel that way when I’m waitressing, even if the paycheque is bigger and more constant.

But I’m getting away from the point: time-wasting. I don’t like the way I feel when I do it, and I especially don’t like the way I feel after a whole MONTH of doing it. Yes, I made an important decision that month, but I also spent a lot of that month lying in my bed and crying. I watched this video (which I did not look up; it happened to come up in my YouTube feed. Life is funny like that), in which this girl discusses that she sought help for her anxiety in part because she recognized just how much TIME she was wasting and how many opportunities she had missed due to her anxiety. I didn’t want to miss out on YEARS of my life. I still don’t want to. But I’m afraid that, even while working on my anxiety et. al, I’ll continue to waste time until finally I’m old and realize that I’ve done nothing with my life. That’s one reason why I decided to pursue what I actually want to do. It would have been so easy to just get a business or even an English degree- something that didn’t cause people to laugh at or pity me. I probably would have gotten good grades in almost anything word-related. But I really wanted to feel connected to my work and spend time- see, TIME- in classes that would affect the life I wanted to have after college. And that life, the one of an actor, is not so easy to come by. After seven months of constant auditioning, I finally have a little bit of that life, even if it is shared with other things that I think are pretty much meaningless. But getting that little bit of time that actually means something to me feels so great. I can never go back to the way I wasted time in November. I can’t stand it.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Catherine
    Dec 16, 2012 @ 21:01:24

    I know the feeling – when I graduated from college, I didn’t really understand that, for the most part, I am the only person who will keep me accountable. Yes, at work there are people who will get upset if I don’t do my job well. But who gets me out of bed? I do.

    It sounds like you aren’t the kind of person who will let yourself waste your life. That’s important! Take what you learned from November and enter the New Year with new lenses.

    Good luck!

    Reply

  2. Child Anxiety Disorder
    May 31, 2013 @ 00:00:16

    Hello everybody, here every one is sharing these kinds of knowledge, therefore
    it’s nice to read this blog, and I used to pay a quick visit this web site everyday.

    Reply

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