the long year

A few weeks ago we stumbled upon this “lake” behind a baseball diamond. This year has brought that, at least, the discovery of magic right in our back yard.

As March wraps up, I’m reminded of how long of a year this really was. Our last trip on a plane was over a year ago… I frequently found myself waiting in security lines at airports so it’s odd to say that. Had I known then what I know now, I would have booked a few extra days in Las Vegas rather than cram that trip into such a short amount of time. We were saving money… I suppose that was a good idea in the long run.

But what I wouldn’t do for a trip on a plane to some place with attractions full of noisy people who stand too close to you when you’re visiting a local museum, hailing a cab or waiting in line at a restaurant. That doesn’t even seem like something I remember. Wearing masks and standing 6′ away from someone seems more familiar than what I was used to during my first 39 years on this earth. Strange how the brain works.

A few days ago marked the one year anniversary of receiving the call with the news that I wasn’t that important to the team at work… in the grand scheme of things. While this past year has lasted forever, that day seems like last week. I remember where I was standing, how it felt to hear that news, how his voice sounded on the other end of the line… cold, calculated, uncaring, total disregard for what that news does to a person… to their family. How was that a year ago?

I’ve thought a lot about that 2 minute call this week. I hear a lot of “yeah, but you have a job now, so that’s good” and “you landed on your feet, so that’s good” and “some people are still unemployed, so at least that’s good that you aren’t”.


All of these things.

I don’t look back on a year ago with the same fear I did before finding a job in my industry. I look back on through the eyes of feeling thankful that I learned that lesson when I did. Still hurt, upset and unforgiving to those who put me on the list (because it was as simple as that and you can’t tell me otherwise… some were put on the list, some were not), but I did learn a lesson in all of that. Your employer is just that, your employer.

In my industry, like many others I’m sure, you’ll find people who are extremely passionate about what they do. They will give up major life events (like attending weddings, funerals, hospital visits, etc) to make sure the show goes on. They do this for the love of the game. For the love of what is on stage, for the love of the audience, they don’t do it for the money.

We aren’t paid enough for 60-80 hours weeks, yet, we put in the time. We put in the laughter, the love, the tears, the frustration, and left our families to fend for themselves.

However when you really look at that, we are just doing that for you, the people on stage, and the audience.

We aren’t doing that for the name on the building or the company on our paychecks. I learned that this past year. So many people feel this strong connection to their local venues. I was one of those people. I mourned the news that “this” venue or “that” venues had to shutter and let go of their teams. So many of us did. This past year, however, found me disconnecting the name of those venues from what those venues provide to the communities that visit them. From here on out, I’ll pour my heart and soul into the art on the stage (whether that be in a traditional theater, in a parking lot, or under a tree in a city park) and into the experience for the fans, but I don’t know when I’ll be ready to pour my heart and soul into something that can so quickly, and so easily put my name on the “we don’t really need them” list.

That’s not fair to me. That’s not fair to those who share my life with me. That’s not fair to the craft.

I hope you’re still with me, I’m taking the long road today.

All of this gets me back to this – a year ago I learned to do it for me. Whatever that it is, I’m going to just worry about me. The me includes my loved ones, my friends, my cats (yes, I said my cats)… my life.

I’m thankful to have found a job that lets me work with other people who are bringing those experiences to audiences rather than working for 4 walls that will forget my time there when I’m gone. I’ll make a lasting impression on the people and they, in turn, will provide a lasting experience for their guests. I’m also thankful to have found a team that wants to extend a hand to help me learn rather than point out the fact that I don’t know something. I love that I found a job that will let me stay in a place I love, working in an industry full of people that bring me joy, while sitting next to a window that looks out upon my lilac tree, forsythia bush and honey suckle instead of busy city streets.

I’m lucky, in a round about way.

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