I was catching up with a friend tonight, and another the night before; both times the topic of our futures was the hot subject.
I’m in a funk, have been for years. I thought being single would help that… I thought that a new job with better pay would help that… I thought breaking free from the monotony of my old job would help that…
The answer? Absolutely not. None of these measures truly alleviated the issue; they helped sure, but in the end, they’re all diversions, subtle ways in which to tell myself that I’m progressing.
Truth be told, the only way I actually felt alive, actually felt something was when I was on a film set. I’ve said it before, but it was only then that I was truly happy. Now, I’m just going through the motions. My ex-wife at the time said she had never seen me as happy as when I’d return from a shoot. That stuck with me.
The friend whom I’d met tonight gave me a good bit on which to ruminate. He had attended a speech by Spike Lee one night at Colby College here in Maine. Spike had spoken of the days when he would shoot his films. He said that he’d wake up at 3 AM every morning, anxious to shoot the days’ scheduled shots. He would rise well ahead of the alarm clock because he truly loved what he does.
I want to ask you a question. When you’re at work, do you feel tired? Regardless of the amount or quality of your sleep, or if you drank too much the night before, do you feel lethargic, exhausted? Now, think of the time when you punch out for the day. Yes, exactly. You perk up; suddenly you aren’t so tired anymore. Something about that night ahead is calling to you. Your forthcoming plans are causing your body to become excited.
Then think of your days off. You’re able to do what you want to do when you want to do it (within reason). Your job isn’t holding you back in any way (unless you allow it). Why is that? Well, I’ll tell you (I love having conversations with myself). When you are doing something you like to do, you’re more alert, and much more apt to care.
Okay, now go back in time when you felt that exuberance on Christmas Eve. You can’t sleep, your mind races in regards to the possible contents of those carefully wrapped boxes. As neat as they are, you want to tear through every minute of your parents’ painstaking wrap job to feel that few-second high.
What if you could feel that moment all day? THAT is what Spike Lee spoke of, and that is what I feel when I’m on a film set. When I wrote and directed Love Off-Key (immaterial to my take on it now), every night (we shot three consecutive nights of principle photography), I’d come home, pen in hand and take notes on the day’s shoot. I’d notate the hits, the misses, and the shots completed (often times dwell on the ones NOT completed). And every mark was a way in which to improve upon the next day’s shoot.
And still, yet, I’d wake up earlier than my alarm, sleep-deprived but ready to start a new day. THIS is the moment that my ex-wife first remarked on my attitude. Then later during the shooting of our adaptation of The Tale of the Three Brothers, again, every day was a dream come true. The momentum faded, however, and I ended up stuck– relegated to the same monotony I fight so vehemently against today.
I need to continue the fight, for while everyone around me is “happy,” I’m dying inside. If you feel the same way, then fight with me, side-by-side in our own personal (and often internal) struggles. Remember folks: Stasis=Death. And I want to live dammit, truly live.
Tell me your tale in the comments below.