Member Rara Avis
If I don't put my entire being into something, especially this, then I can't do it at all. It would just break my heart. Could you live with yourself doing that?
I could, I have, and I'm pretty sure most people inevitably do.
For over a year, I put my entire being into a relationship with my wife. When our first daughter was born, my entire being was necessarily diluted. Three years later, when our second girl came along, it was diluted yet again. Guess what happened three years after that? (It was a boy, finally, so we stopped.)
I could probably give a score of personal examples, some of them much closer to your own situation than a relationship might seem. All of them, however, as with your own situation, share a common theme. People make choices, and every choice followed represents an infinite number of choices abandoned. It seems like the only possible way to get something you want is to be willing to give up something else you wanted just as much.
I really do sympathize with you, Chelsea.
My momma once told someone that I was born with only two speeds: dead-stop and bull-in-a-china-shop, get-the-hell-outa-his-way, full-speed-ahead. Years later, someone who didn't like me as much as my mother did, said it more concisely: I'm lazy and obsessive. Ironically, being lazy has never got me into trouble. Being obsessive, however, is often very trying. Left unmoderated, I've discovered, obsession will destroy a life.
It's a paradox I think I have lived with my entire life. I firmly believe focus is the secret to real success in just about any human endeavor. However, I believe just as fervently that the secret to success in life is balance.
Put another way, I think it is very easy to succeed at just about anything if one devotes every iota of their being towards their goal. History -- and the tabloids -- are rife with examples of such people. And every single one of us, I suspect, knows the stories of what that kind of success can often bring. Elvis, Marilyn, Belushi, and countless more have repeatedly shown us that success isn't necessarily the opposite of misery. Sometimes, it seems to be the very root of it.
Doing something well is easy if it's the only thing you ever try to do.
My greatest successes have always come when I let myself give in to obsession. The greater challenge, and I honestly believe the greater reward, is in striving to do well without throwing away the rest of your life in the process. That's harder. Sometimes, I think, infinitely harder. I have to keep reminding myself that's the way most people live their lives without even trying.
Here's your honest response, Chelsea.
If your only choices really lie at the very edges of what should be a wide spectrum, I think you've already made the wrong choices. It ultimately doesn't matter which extreme you choose, because both will lead to unhappiness. For people caught in their own obsessions, Do or Don't Do are easy choices. It's much more difficult to step away from those edges and find somewhere in the middle where you can plant your foot and take a stand. That place doesn't need to be dead-center (and probably shouldn't be, either), but only you can decide how far from center and which direction you want to travel.
If making a good living is important to you, you're going to have to give up something else. If being an actress is important to you, you're still going to have to give up something else.
The mistake you want to avoid, in both instances, is giving up everything else.
Whatever path you choose, it will be much more difficult to follow it in the absence of obsession. Trust me, though, it will also be much more rewarding.
p.s. Acting was one of those early obsessions, circa high school and early college, that I eventually sacrificed for different obsessions. Those who've watched me teach in front of a classroom these past seven years claim I never really did give it up, though.
Good luck with your choices.