In the Making

Unemployed… and loving it?

Posted by cjaxon on May 31, 2011

It’s been almost two weeks since I came back from New York.

And it feels like a month.

New York was a sort-of vacation, with a relaxed pace, but a definite agenda. I still got up early, went all day, and stayed up at night. We worked hard, and played hard. It was a great week and a half, but still a project unto itself.

The day after I got back, I crashed. My body knew that I finally had no responsibilities, no major work to do, and it took over. One morning I slept until 11 am… which isn’t a big deal for some people, but for me that’s late. It took me forever to get things done, even just moving my clothes into the room I’m staying in, or going to get groceries. My friend Andrew came to visit that Fri-Sat, and we just hung out around town. It’s nice every now and then to have such luxurious times.

But only for the first week. I’m slowly starting to lose my mind. 

Last Monday I went home to visit my sister, since she’s by herself while our parents are out of town. And the same thing happened. We watched some SVU, went out for lunch, we saw a movie. Slow pace. By Wednesday (I think), I legitimately was losing track of what day it was. There is absolutely no structure in my life. I knew when it was Thursday because I found myself driving back to Oklahoma – I had planned to leave on Thursday, so since I was leaving, that means it had to be Thursday… right? And since that was Thursday, the next one had to be Friday… right??

At the same time, it’s not that I’m being entirely unproductive – I make to-do lists, and eventually get them done. It’s just that nowadays, there’s not as much to do, and absolutely no sense of urgency. I guess it’s an exercise in self-discipline.

I realized the other day that this is that state of being we call “unemployment.” My rehearsals haven’t started yet, and other than the church job (once a week), I don’t have any other part-time job. There just wasn’t a point in it, since I could literally only work for one month before the shows started. With no school, no job, and all my traveling done, the days all run together, exactly the same. I’ve finally realized that the only thing that will break the pattern of sloth is myself, actually taking action.

So that’s what I’m doing. I’m practicing going to bed early and getting up early, just like I’ll have to do in rehearsals. I’m continuing to make my lists, and then just doing them, because I’ve had enough sitting around.

And I realized the other day, it’s more than just an exercise in discipline. This is closer to what my life will be like when I move. Granted, the scenery will be very different, but the lifestyle will be about the same. I’m only going to have one or two part-time jobs when I get up there. Some sense of structure will come from the jobs, some from the classes I’ll take. I’ll have places I know I need to be. But those will only be a few hours at a time. Other than that, my time will be spent going to auditions, which have a lot more wait-time than “doing.” Think about it like this: I’ll get there early to sign up, and depending on where I am on the list I may have to wait around a few hours. Then I have my actual audition, for a grand total of four minutes. If I don’t get a callback, then I’m done for the day. And on days without auditions…?

So it’s good that I learn now how to make sure I’m not sitting around on my butt. I’ve been advised by different people of two things. The first, from a faculty member, is that “You’re never as busy as your are in college. They work you harder here than you ever will in the real world.” Which, in a way, is a relief. The second, from a coach in NY, is that “You still have to do the homework, but no one assigns it for you.” I have to set my own pace. I have to continue to work if I want to keep up. It’s like, I have to do the work, if I want to get the work.

And I will. It’ll be easier to stay focused when I’m surrounded by it in NY, and the resources are all there. And in reality, this month of May is my true summer break. Rehearsals will start in full force next week, and once the contract is over I won’t take more than a week or two before I move up there and get started. So while part of me is going crazy from a sudden inability to do anything, part of me knows it’s okay. I don’t often let myself get this way, and I won’t have the opportunity again for a while.

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