Every lead character in a story has their arc: the inner journey, which typically involves some sort of growth in response to the changing circumstances of the story.
The dynamics of our stories are consistently changing… and sometimes dramatically so. In my story, there has been exploration, burned bridges, unpredictable trauma, birthing humans, loss, and pivotal choices…
For me, one of those choices was leaving my career as an actor over a decade ago. It was what was best for my family at the time. I wanted to be a mother and circumstances made it difficult to do both. I found a creative outlet online, and a few years later my husband’s career took us away from Los Angeles.
Four years after leaving my career, I was still telling myself I would return.
Then five years later, I felt like it was time to “grow up and leave that dream behind.” Living with regret can poison the present, so I tried to frame it in a way that my heart could understand. I told myself that dreams can change.It doesn't have to be about giving up on your dreams. Sometimes it's about allowing them to change. Click To Tweet
Seven years later, my kids were thriving. We owned a home in the Bay Area. I told myself that as we get older it isn’t necessarily about the kind of job we want – it’s about the kind of life we want. I wanted my kids to have swimming lessons, music lessons, go to good schools… and they were. However, I was having a hard time getting up in the mornings because I didn’t want to cut my dreams short – while sleeping, I was often rehearsing a scene for a play, or on location filming…
Eight years later, we decided to take out a loan and open up a franchise. I became the owner of a company – it was good. I was employing people – that was good. I was making a giant investment in my family’s future – that was very good. I was the customer service department, the HR department, and the PR department… and I was good.
I would lay in the bath and write screenplays in my mind for myself.
I’d still hit the snooze button because I was always in the middle of filming a powerful scene or about to step out on stage…
Nine years later, my kids were great, our company was great, our home was great… but I couldn’t connect with my life. I felt like I was pretending, and I felt guilty for not feeling whole. I started a gratitude journal… and forgot to stick with it.
What’s the difference between a dream and a calling?
When I was in third grade, I dreamt of being a veterinarian – one that also went into outer space, but still a veterinarian. When I was in fourth grade, I was cast as the chocolate chip cookie in the school play, and I then dreamt of being an actor. Some how that was the dream that stuck – the one that grew legs and walked with me throughout my life. It was there when I entered high school and the after school drama program. It was there when I got a full scholarship to a performing arts university. It was there when I graduated and waited tables to support my “theatre hobby”. It was there when I finally started working professionally in TV and Film.
It was also there when I gave it all up. It was there.
Is that what a calling is – a sort of dream with legs?
It followed me… in the most annoying way, when I was trying to outgrow it. It was a constant buzzing, like a bumble bee in the background of my life – refusing to allow me to be fully present.
Nine and a half years later, I began to pour myself into my company. My goal – to be profitable enough to hire someone else to take over. My kids were finally in school all day, and I wanted to find a way to get back to what I always knew I was supposed to be doing. I wasn’t in LA anymore, but there was some good theatre in the Bay Area. Cal Shakes was right around the corner from our house… I could put all my classical training to use… we were finally in a position to hire childcare help…
So I decided to kick ass in the office so I could eventually get out of it. I decided to reach out and grab the hand of that annoying dream with legs, and it started pulling me forward…
Perhaps a calling is when a dream is confirmed by something outside ourselves.
Nine and three quarters of a year later, my husband got an incredible job offer. It was out of the blue, and it was financially very enticing. It also meant relocating BACK TO LOS ANGELES.
Nine and three quarters of year later, we sold that business I was working so hard at, we packed up our family, and we moved back to the place I chose to leave years ago.A calling is when the outside world is walking in synchronicity with our insides. Click To Tweet
My arc has somehow come full circle. Almost a decade later, I find myself back to where I was when my acting career was starting to bloom… but this time, with a whole arsenal of life experience at my disposal.
I am a storyteller and this is how I was meant to tell those stories.
Perhaps dreams are more of an escape – a wish…
and perhaps dreams can also be a seed form which a calling can grow.
I do know that a calling can be relentless. That it begs to be answered.
So, here I am…
answering the call.