“Work; obviously someone else decides when you’re an actor when you work and when you don’t. When you’re popular and when you’re not and all that. And having a life that is full and interesting and that you’re happy to go back to makes it not such a big deal if you can’t get work or you can’t find something that interests you for a while. Its actually just as fun to go back home for a while and be around the people you love”~Natalie Portman
I like Natalie Portman well enough as an actress, but I LOVE her as a person. Or at least, I love the content of her interviews, as I do not actually know her personally. The quote above is from the web series “Screen Test” produced by the NY times. You can check out this episode and more here http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=EL6Gd8AKVeKKY
I’ve been really lucky in the last year to have steady acting work. Moving from Provision Theatre to Glass Onion to Red Barn and now I’ve been cast as Kristin in Vintage Theatre Collective’s upcoming production of Miss Julie. (I am so stoked about that project I can barely see straight) I know how fortunate I am, but in the midst of all this productivity, I must continue to build a life that is worth living even outside of acting. In every actors career, there are ups and downs. Even gorgeous oscar winning actress have slow years. So if your career is the only thing you invest your heart into, what do you have to fulfill your life during periods of inactivity?
I had an Aha moment last year while talking to my sister on the phone. I was complaining about how exhausted and frustrated I was and she asked me “Do you do anything that isn’t about paying bills or furthering your acting career?” I thought about it for a moment, I had no boyfriend, no real hobbies I was pursuing at the time, my life was literally all about my day job and my acting career. I had no creative outlet.
It’s so important to cultivate the qualities of character that sustain you through slow periods. I’ve invested time into new hobbies that challenge me creatively, but they are just for my own personal pleasure. In the last few months I’ve spent a little time everyday playing ukulele and I’ve just started learning guitar. I’ve also become a poetry junkie… I can’t get enough. I don’t have to perform anywhere other than a campfire sing along if I feel like it. My poems may never leave the inside of my journal, but it allows me to explore my own creativity in a way I had never done before. (On my 2012-2013 bucket list I also want to start learning French, to play the fiddle, and to paint)
It’s not just about pursuing new hobbies, it’s also about investing in personal relationships. How can I be a better sister? Daughter? Friend? Most importantly, how can I grow in my relationship with my Self, so that I can bring more of myself to these relationships? The combination of all of these things create a life that is worth going back to.
Yes I am blessed and fortunate to have gainful employment in the field of my choice, but that shouldn’t mean that I get so absorbed in my career that I stop investing in the other things that enrich life and give it meaning. So I’ll leave you with another quote that sums up what I mean much more articulately than I ever could. Peace and blessings ya’ll.
“You must learn day by day, year by year to broaden your horizon. The more things you love, the more you are interested in, the more you enjoy, the more you are indignant about, the more you have left when anything happens.”