I’m nervous. I’ve been thinking about the future in terms of months. Like, next year I’m going to move to Chicago and go to school at “The Second City.” April 2021 to be exact. I’ve been packing already! COVID will be gone, the election will be over, and Seattle will have lost its mind even more than it already has. I’ll have spent winter in a fairly mild environment and spring will be upon us. April 2021 is a great time to move to Chicago. Yes, that’s when I’m going.
But then I get an email from The Second City. Apparently, depending upon what news source you go to, they are either looking for new investors, or it’s being out-right sold. What the fuck is with this?
Sometimes if feels like the deciding factor as to whether a business is going to be sold, or the randomness of life happens, is whether I either like it or plan on going.
- Insanity happens, creating violence and mayhem, keeping me from a group of people I’d been enjoying.
- I volunteer at a theater, they close.
- A cooking school I was thinking of volunteering at lost their minds and were treating their employees with violence.
- My workplace is sold to people I don’t understand.
- Covid happens, keeping me from ComedySportz.
- Covid happens, keeping me from Adams No-Stir Chunky natural peanut butter.
- My chiropractor died.
- The cooking teacher I was ready to take classes with, died.
I’m surprised Theo Chocolate hasn’t gone out of business.
And now The Second City is threatened. Is it because I was planning on going next year? Humm? Is this my fault???
Of course not, but it sure feels like the Universe has it out for me.
The idea of going to Chicago and going to school at The Second City was the one thing I was holding onto. My life preserver. My hope. Maybe, maybe, everything will be fine. Maybe an investor will be found. I told my dialects coach, who is on the faculty at The Second City, to go ask Tina Fey if she’d invest. Why not? I’ve been sending money to my alma maters during Covid. Maybe the alums could buy it!
I had been thinking that things were going to change, next year. 2021. And people have been telling me it might be 2022! That just freaked me out. I can’t do this for that long. I can’t stay home all the time, not getting on stage, not getting hugs, for that long! I’m going crazy.
Having my mind set on 2021, without being sure of what is going to happen, if anything, is really stressful. I’m betting my sanity on something that probably won’t come. This is not sustainable. When April 2021 comes and I’m still in my apartment, my world would be devastated.
Something needs to change.
I need to rearrange my expectations. I need to not think of the future in terms of tomorrow, or next month, or next year, or even 2 years out.
I was thinking about a decade. 10 years. A 10-year plan. But as I write this, I see that that is not enough either. I’m still thinking in terms of Time. And Time is chaotic at the moment.
I’m not going to go into Quantum Physics here, mainly because I would not do it justice, but the thing to take away is that Quantum Physics turned science on its head. Things we assumed to be true based on the scientific method are completely false when dealing this the smallest of particles, that we know of, such as photons. They just don’t behave in the ways we might expect.
In terms of Covid, Time has become chaotic. None of us know when this will end, and what it will look like when it does end. We don’t know if it will ever end. And we won’t know until it does end, and none of us have any idea when that could be.
They might get a cure and vaccination for Covid tomorrow. Or it might be so rapidly mutating that’s it’s impossible to find a cure. We can say we’ll wait for it, but eventually life will go on. It has to. We will have pivoted and have accepted the threat of Covid in our lives. But we don’t know when, or if, that will happen either.
When it comes to Time, there’s only Now. Tomorrow will be the same as Today, until it isn’t.
We used to have goals such as “I want to own my own business by the time I’m 30.” Or “I want to start school in Chicago next Spring.”
The Time portion of these goals no longer make sense because Time is no longer a Constant that can be worked with
As if it ever was…
Fallacy of Time
In 1996, I came out to Seattle to do Stand-up Comedy. I did my research, and this was a great place to learn and grow as a comedian. I was on a path.
I was NOT a great comic and I branched out into acting and improv.
Then life happened. I was attacked by an acting teacher and his students. My sense of belief in myself and what I could accomplish took a huge hit.
I fell into this spiral. I was still taking classes, and talking about comedy and acting, but in some ways, Time stopped for me. I told myself that as long as I was studying and taking classes, then I was still on the path. That I had Time.
This was a fallacy.
You would not believe the number of classes I’ve taken and the books I’ve read. The dreams I’ve had. Yet all of it was a smokescreen. It was a way of getting myself to believe that I still had a chance to succeed, without ever taking the chance to find out if that was true or not.
Going to school at The Second City was also part of that smokescreen. I see that now.
It took Covid, and the prospect of losing The Second City, to make me realize that I’ve been treading water for a long time. With nothing to show for it. I’ve been in Seattle for 24 years, and I failed.
The passing of Time, going to classes and deceiving myself has come to an end.
Quantum Planning, Part 2
I can’t tell myself that I’m going to Chicago next year. Time is off the table. I can’t depend upon Time anymore. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to go to Chicago. I don’t know what the world will look like tomorrow, let alone next year. I don’t know what opportunities will be available, or which ones I’ll have to create for myself. I don’t know if I’ll even be here.
This uncertainty can be a killer.
I need to let go of Time. Time doesn’t matter. I can’t control it, I can’t depend on it, it’s completely chaotic at the “moment.” Time can’t be a factor in any future goal planning.
There is only Now, and the Goal I want to achieve.
The spiral of taking classes and making myself believe that I’m actually doing something needs to change.
When I found out The Second City was up for sale, I finally saw what I had lost in these last 24 years. I lost my passion, or at least the belief that I could achieve my passion. I thought to myself that I had Time and now Time is gone! The opportunities I thought I’d always have, are gone. It’s all gone!
All because I couldn’t get my shit together and do the fucking thing.
While not as traumatic, I imagine it’s somewhat like being told I’ll never walk again.
Here I am, a failure with my opportunities dwindling away, ready to get serious.
It sounds so ridiculous to me. That after all this time I’m ready to get serious. The schools are closing, the mob is not in the mood for comedy, and the world is imploding. And now I’m ready to get serious.
It’s scary to think about. In reality, I would’ve been happy to just play at comedy and acting for the rest of my life. Yeah, there would have been some twinges. Deep down, I knew I was screwing up. But if Covid hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t have seen what I was doing to myself.
So, the goal has changed.
I want to do comedy, in whatever form is available to me. I want to be ready for it. I want to be ready for when Time folds on itself and allows us our freedom. I want to do everything I can to be ready.
Of course, this means more classes, what else am I supposed to do? But the focus changes. It’s not just the classes but what I can do with the classes. What can I do on my own to help my future self, whether that’s next year, or next decade? Or Now. Since that’s all I have.
Quantum Planning Part 3
I was taking Accents & Dialects classes online with The Second City, but I was having a really hard time. First, the class was 3 hours long on a weekday evening. After 8 hours at work at the computer, it was brutal to continue staring at the screen. And even though I got it when I was in class, when it was time to practice, I just didn’t do it. I felt overwhelmed. In a class, it’s easy to get away with not doing your best. It was a problem.
So now I have a Dialect coach. Last week I started one-on-ones with her. We’re going to go over European Dialects enough that I can fake it in an improv, and then swing back around and get them all down for reals. And I have to do the work, or else feel really embarrassed about it. There is a sense of accountability here. A sense of commitment.
Step One: I will get European Dialects down.
When will I be done? Who knows! And really, who cares? What matters is finally making a commitment and following through on them. Do one thing that will exponentially help me and my future self.
That is the essence of Quantum Planning. Take Time of the table and just move forward. Just do the thing Now, because Now is all there is.
I’m still going to The Second City, or whatever exists, whenever that happens, but not as a smokescreen or a distraction. It’s a way in.
The Future will take care of itself, and when a door opens, I’ll be ready to walk through it. Whatever door it is. That’s my goal. I want to be ready.
Here I go….
“Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking ‘cross the floor
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking out the door!”
-Put One Foot in Front of the Other – Mickey Rooney from Santa Claus is Coming to Town