It is turning out to be a busy week! Lots of work, lots of creative opportunities beginning to present themselves and lots of things to be grateful for! Today’s gratefulness challenge list seems to have somehow themed itself the “busy dance artist” list. I guess it is about time I talk about my career path.
1. Having a flexible schedule: So as I have mentioned before I like to be busy. I don’t think I’ve made it clear just how busy my definition of busy is. Right now for example I am working four jobs plus doing an internship. I am in the pre-production stages for three new projects and have about five different applications on the go. Plus I try to make it to weekly dance classes, workout and make time for friends and family. And this to me is not really that busy of a week. People think I’m crazy and that I never sleep and though I do have the occasional sleepless night I actually get a lot of time to relax believe it or not. Here is how.
I make sure that every job or project I take on has a certain level of flexibility to it. All of my jobs have a weekly commitment of less than 10 hours, yet that can grow to be more when I have time or need some extra cash. Also I have AWESOME bosses who are unbelievably understanding of my lifestyle. They are so flexible with me because of two things: I have always been upfront with them as to where my priorities lie and when I am at work I give them 110% of my energy and focus. Being an honest and dependable worker truly has it’s perks.
Having this kind of work schedule and such accommodating bosses means that I can make it to that awesome weekend workshop, last minute audition or impromptu performance without worrying about whether or not I will have a job the next week. It also means that I can meet a friend for coffee at 3 in the afternoon. Plus if for whatever reason one thing I am working on at the time doesn’t pan out there’s other projects to fall back on. Such a juggling act may not be possible for everyone but I am grateful to be capable of successfully juggling so many balls.
2. Technology keeping me connected to those I love: Toronto is the third city I have called home in my life and my family and friends are scattered throughout the world. There are moments that living so far away from many of the people I love can be tough. One of the great things about the world we live in though is that everyone that is truly important to me is no further than a click, call or, if I’m really lucky, a plane ride away.
Now I’ll be honest that there are some aspects of of the digital world that drive me crazy. Many of the social networks we use are addictive and time consuming. But when you’re lucky if you make it home a few times a year, things like email, texting, facebook and skype really help a lot. Suddenly, without having to travel hundreds of miles my cousins can get a guided tour of my apartment over Skype or my parents get to see the video of my latest performance. Though texts aren’t as romantic as handwritten letters they are still exciting to get and, to be honest, I don’t want to wait a week to hear about what my good friend back home did today, I want to know NOW. Sure maybe I’d prefer that she call me over telling all her friends at once over twitter, but at least I get to hear what’s going on and feel like I am a part of her life.
None of it will ever be on par with sitting across from someone over a drink and talking late in to the night, but I am still grateful that I get to be an active part of my loved ones lives no matter how far away I may be from them. The virtual connections make the thousands of miles seem not quite so vast.
3. Getting to work in a field I love: Not everyone gets to work at something they are truly passionate about. Personally I have always believed that if you don’t love it, why do it, and I try my best to make that a priority in what I choose to partake in. The field I chose to pursue though is not an easy one and I work hard every day to make my dance career a reality.
There are still a ton of obstacles to overcome, but I think if I didn’t have to work hard it wouldn’t mean as much to me. Sure I’m not living in a mansion and driving a bentley but I am happy with what I do AND I get paid to do it. It’s a simple concept, but in today’s society it is kind of revolutionary. Far too many people live a life based solely around how much money they will be able to make, and yes having a roof over your head and food in your belly is important, but personally I know that the mansion wouldn’t mean much if the path to getting there wasn’t one I loved.
I know that the only reason I am able to call my self a dance artist is because I was determined enough to make it happen and was willing to put in the necessary work to create that title for myself. Even with knowing that this is all of my own making it is still pretty cool to know that I didn’t let any of the HUGE obstacles turn me away and that I am actually doing what I love.
And if you aren’t certain that you are doing what you love, take a listen to this lecture by Alan Watts which has been circulation the digital world for the past few months. Even if you have already seen it it’s worth a re-watched. First time I watched it my reaction was to go “Yes! I am making this happen!” Now whenever I get discouraged I use it as a reminder that I am doing what I love and therefore the rest really doesn’t matter.