Day 03 → Something you have to forgive yourself for.
Everyone has it, whether you admit to it or not. You may not have written yours down, it may only have existed in the shadows in the back of your mind, but it was there. It was:
You know which one I mean. "When I grow up, I'm going to be a...." "By the time I'm 30, I'm going to..." "I'm going to marry ...." The bucket list. The best intentions. The vision you had for yourself and where your life was going to lead you.
My plan was to be an actress and a writer. I didn't anticipate being a superstar or having my name splashed across Broadway in bright bulb lights. I just wanted to be on stage, smelling the musty air of an aging theater, hearing the creaking of the casters as they pulled the heavy curtain open, being blinded by the harsh light of the follow spot, listening to the gasps and laughs of a enraptured audience, washing the grease paint off of my face every night...that was my world, and all I wanted to be.
I was on the right path, too. School theater, followed by community theater and a gig on a professional stage crew at a local performing arts center. I earned acceptance into an arts conservatory for college (really, it was like Fame High School - the College Years), performed in student films, local theater, even landed a spot as an extra in a major motion picture.
I moved to Orlando, where I thought I'd have a better chance of breaking into the industry. Don't laugh; at the time, Orlando was the heart and soul of pop culture, and there were a lot of smaller movie studios and theater companies that were setting up shop in the City that Tourism Built. I transferred colleges, packed up my car and my cat, and drove 3,000 miles to start a new life in a new city.
I wish I could tell you where it all went wrong. It started slowly enough; the theater at my new college, like at most colleges, was very exclusive. If you hadn't come up in the department like everyone else, it was very hard to get cast in anything, no matter what was on your resume. I did manage to do a student film for a local film school. I even recorded a few songs for a demo. But...then...one thing led to another. School took up more and more of my time, then I had to get a job, and then..."real" life took over, and I had to put aside all of that.
It was the first of many boxes on my "To Do By 30" list that never got checked off. "Have my Masters", "Marry", "Have a Career" and "Have my First Child" were soon to follow. I'm a member of the generation that was fed the lie of "go to college, get a degree, and your career will find YOU." We played by the rules, got the grades, went to school...and then the economy tanked. Some blame 9/11. Some blame the president (take your pick which one). Some just blame the natural state of the bottom dropping out on an economy built on debt. Whatever the cause, I graduated with a degree in a field that was rapidly disappearing, and instead of looking for my Dream Job, I was scrambling to get ANY job that would keep my rent paid and my lights on.
I've spent years berating myself for everything that I wanted that I just couldn't achieve. If I could learn to forgive myself for anything, it would be for not achieving what I thought was my ideal for my life. I would forgive myself for holding myself to the standards set by my parents, society, my friends and family....myself....and I would somehow...someway...find peace in knowing that sometimes, you land exactly where you're supposed to be, even if you're not sure of how you wound up there in the first place.