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11:44 am - Mon 5.06.2013
"If Nothing We Do Matters..."

"If Nothing We Do Matters..."

This entry is rated "M" for "Mature language and themes".)

Woke up at 7:15 this morning, having forgotten to turn the alarm off (7:15 is when I have to get up on Sunday for work).

Turned it off, then felt as if I rolled around in bed for a few minutes, before deciding things were hopeless - in terms of getting any more sleep - and getting 10:30.

And I still feel like shit.

And alongside the physical "feeling like shit" that just seems to be my existence, my mind's fucking with me as well.

This seems like an odd time for my mind to be "fucking with me", coming off a nice infusion of cash and bookings...but here we are.

Part of it might be that amazing ability I have to be find unhappy thoughts wherever they might be (In this case, instead of appreciating my good fortune, worrying about how long the good times are gonna last. Or rather, letting genuine happiness over my good fortune devolve into worry over its end, and a return to my anxious status quo. In effect, I'm worrying over how quickly I'll have to start worrying again. Kind of crazy, huh?).

Beyond that, I think there's a "Maslow's Hierarchy Of Needs"-thing going on - Having a temporary infusion of money come in (From previous work, and from the two recent bookings)is great, and it means that things are good, financially, for the immediate future.

But that's all it means.

And that means I'm "freed-up" to worry about all the other things there are to worry about:

1. My long-term financial viability.

I'm about to turn 53, my net-worth is currently in the single-digit thousands, to get a union pension I have to be vested for 10 years (and so far I have three), and who knows what's ultimately going to happen with my career, or for that matter, with social security?

In terms of keeping myself fed and clothed in perpetuity...well, let's just say I am "deeply concerned".

2. My artistic/creative satisfaction.

I've been here in LA for over 12 years now, and yes, I have made progress - from nothing to a team of representation, union membership, and some 50+ jobs.

And yes, it's cool that I actually make money being an actor (As demonstrated by recent events), but I'm not going to be able to consider myself a true "success" till I start getting to do work that makes me feel like I'm actually doing something, that makes me feel good about what I can do, and what I'm getting to do, as an actor.

Beyond the impossibility of any kind of "financial security" on my current diet of a couple co-star roles a year (and a commercial, if I'm lucky), I just don't feel like an "Actor". The "small parts" I play are making me feel like a "small actor". And I worry that, with age, my fortunes are only going to get worse, not better (I know - I'm a character actor, so I don't have the same "expiration date" as a "leading man", but that said, I don't see a lot of elderly faces on tv, in meaningful roles. And believe me, I look for them).

3. My loneliness/relative lack of a personal life/lack of meaningful connections/lack of sex and romance/etc.

This is a tough one, and could easily be the subject of multiple journal entries.

But stripped down to what I believe is the essential issue, I'm deeply ambivalent here; while I often feel like my life is essentially meaningless without it, I'm also terrified of trying to connect to other people (Particularly romantically).

The people I've counted on for "connection" in the past...don't really need me anymore (If they ever did), because they're "set". They have the people who are their "primary" connections. And in my time in LA, I have not succeeded in creating a lot of new meaningful connections.

And I fear that, with age, what's "minimal" now is going to turn non-existent.

And on the romantic front...well, there is no "romantic front". I haven't experienced a mutual interest or attraction with someone in a good 20 years.

I barely remember what it feels like to hold someone's hand, to kiss someone, let alone to make love.

Negotiating that terrain was always a terrifying prospect, but with age, and fatigue, and an uncertain fiscal/career outlook (Not to mention the extra challenge in making connections in LA)...well, let's say it hasn't exactly gotten less terrifying.

And when I failed in relationships in the past, I failed spectacularly. And again, I doubt spending the last 20+ years alone has made the idea of making a real "connection" with someone seem less daunting.

4. The specter of mortality.

Underlying all my worries is the feeling that "the clock is ticking", louder and louder, as the time to make this life a good one slips away.

And this is the one thing there is no real "answer" to - Time really is "slipping away", I really am starting to experience the "diminishing capacities" that come with aging; small things right now (Vision not what it used to be, little "glitches" mentally that didn't used to happen before, etc), but things that tell me I'm physically in decline.

And I really am going to die at some point.

And at this writing, I haven't figured out how to deal with those harsh realities.

All I know is that it doesn't help me to be frozen by depression and fear over it. I don't want to be the person who becomes bitter and defeated in age, because of all they didn't do, or all they didn't manage to get out of life.

I find myself thinking here of the last episode of Angel...

I won't bore you with a breakdown of the show, or the final episode in question, just to say that, our heroes, greatly diminished by the battles they've waged throughout the episode, go out for the final confrontation, outgunned, knowing they are going to lose, that they are going to die, but going out fighting, because that's what heroes do.

I think I'm quoting "Angel's" line correctly - "If nothing we do matters, all that matters is what we do".

That hit me more powerfully than just about any line I've ever heard on television.

Not to be too grandiose here, but that's what my coming out here was - My effort to "go out fighting", not to give up before my time was done.

I want to succeed, professionally and personally, mind you, and I'm not giving up on the notion of that happening before it's all said-and-done...but I really do believe that the point has to be "to fight the good fight" as long as possible, whatever the outcome, even to the end.

That's what I want of myself, and when I don't feel like I'm doing that, that's when I get most frustrated (Though that "frustration" is a trap).

I worry. A lot. And I don't like it, because it's an unhappy place to be, but more to the point, it's dysfunctional and unproductive (Hence the unhappiness while it's going on).

I'm frightened all the time, of just about everything. Terrified really.

And it feels like it's getting worse.

But that's no excuse not to "go out swinging".

(And I have dibs on the dragon...)


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