Um...Happy Thanksgiving? Clearly I missed the appropriate day to send such well-wishes forth to you over the internet, but rest assured that I sincerely do hope that each of you had a marvelous holiday and not a small amount of much-needed rest. My Thanksgivings have and always will be very traditional as long as I'm a McGinley-Ellingwood (which will be forever as I don't plan on changing my name when I get married), but that's something I cherish. Turkey isn't one of my dishes to die for, but it is when Mom makes it along with her rolls, mashed potatoes, green beans, stuffing, and apple-cranberry pie. I was sad that I couldn't take the leftovers home with me. I also enjoyed beef stew and Chili's chicken quesadillas in addition to leftovers during my stay, both of which I find exceptionally tasty.
Of course, the mere fact that I was home with my family (plus Grandma) is what made the days perfectly happy and full of content. It wasn't until I was driving to the airport with Dad at 5:45am on Sunday that I noticed the thought of being separated from them--and the actual separation--causes me a physical ache. With them I know who I am, where I fit, and I'm safe from all that would attempt to bring me down mentally, physically, and emotionally. And if I do succumb to those forces, as I did once over the break, then Dad is there with sound advice, Mom is there with great cuddles, and Meg is there with humorous distractions. The 800 miles between Cincinnati and Boston kind of puts a damper on all that and I'm still not used to it.
Saw four movies that I hadn't previously seen, two at home and two in the theater. See the list below for the titles. I loved all of them for very different reasons. I also completed the quest I had set out for myself: I found my three missing video games and corresponding memory cards. Now I can finally finish Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy (the playthrough that's been in the works for over two years now) and take another crack at Kingdom Hearts II. That means I'll have to schedule game-time into my agenda now...
I mentioned before that I'd succumbed to the forces pressing in around me once over the break. It was Saturday night as I was getting ready for bed and let myself fully realize that I was leaving in the morning to go back to my new life, away from my supportive foundation (aka my family). Dad came to the rescue and talked me through the next hour and a half of teary confessions, attempts to keep from sobbing, and severe bouts of self-doubt. Essentially, I had a breakdown regarding the bigger picture in my life and how I was going to find out what it's supposed to be and then make it a reality. I explained how continually auditioning without any callbacks was finally starting to wear me down, how I missed working on a collaborative piece of theatre, how tired I am when I come home from my not-challenging day job, how meeting new people is proving to be the hardest thing in the world, how I feel like everyone else is doing something that matters and I'm not. So it was generally a miniature quarter-life crisis. Dad stuck with me, made some suggestions, and opened my eyes to paths and tactics that I hadn't considered before. I've started implementing what we talked about this morning and already I feel more hopeful about the future.
To all the Kenyon kids who haven't graduated yet, I'm going to tell you a secret, a painful truth that your commencement speaker won't mention in their speech and that Kenyon College itself doesn't really prepare you for: your first few months out of college will be the scariest time in your life thus far. You will have no idea who you are, what you're supposed to be doing, or how to go about following those dreams you developed in college. You will feel like your life is stagnant and that you're not doing anything worthwhile and that your lack of access or involvement in the things you came to cherish in college means that perhaps you weren't meant to be a part of them (such as theatre). You will feel like they sort of tricked you, that they never told you just how hard the real world is.
And that's exactly things are supposed to be. A lucky few will perhaps escape this, but 99% of you will not. But it's not something to despair about or run away from. I've found it's a necessary part of growing up, that the fear galvanizes you to try things you never would have in college and to take a chance on things you haven't previously considered. This spring I'm taking a class called Financial and Managerial Accounting in preparation of enrollment in BU's Fundraising Management graduate certificate program. I hate math, but I love non-profit organizations (like theatre companies) and I know that they're biggest challenge these days is raising money to support their programs. These courses will help me understand exactly what it is they're facing and how I can apply my passion for causes to help them. In a few years I may find that Development is not where I want to be, but by then I'll have a better idea of what I want because I'll have gotten my foot in the door and tried something. Maybe I'll realize I want to get my Master's in creative writing and go a completely different direction. Who knows?
But this time of uncertainty and fear is the time to try these new things. I'm so eager to get involved in something that my inhibitions are close to non-existent. Don't get me wrong, I'm still scared shitless that I'll just keeping floating along and never find something that I can dedicate my life to, that I'll be stuck in one office job or another. But the fact that I'm scared of that proves that it won't happen. I won't let it.
Dan In Real Life
Live Free or Die Hard