© 2011 lefron

The Bigger the Risk…

I have one goal in life. To be happy. It’s all I think about. Happiness consumes my decision making process, my choices, my actions, my everything. It is the one true thing I seek on a daily basis and the one feeling and presence that satisfies me more than any other accomplisment or material item. Even when I attain happiness, when its in my grasp and it seems like I’ll never let it go, it escapes from me and again the hunt is on. Fortunately, the hunt will never cease to exist.

I was not always this way. Growing up my life long goal was to be a famous actress, the next Meryl Streep, the youngest to win an Academy Award! I lived and breathed acting, and the idea of creating an experience for as many people as possible (I wanted the fame for its universal tactility, not the money, though what’s a little bling gonna hurt?) was erotic. I convinced myself that as an artist I was destined to be alone, that my craft would consume my sanity and morale and I was sacrificing myself to the world of theater for the sake of others; my performances would provide revelations and epiphanies for viewers everywhere, and as such the time spent on creating such art would be my ultimate demise. I prepared myself to be miserable for the rest of my life.

And then I became miserable. I spent the majority of my hours creating characters and practicing sense memory, tapping into old wounds and painful emotions to mold meaningful monologues. I scribbled pages and pages of fake diaries and drawings and histories, winding myself deeper and deeper into scripts and subtext. I was trapping myself in my own thoughts and forcing my imagination to weave itself into a knotted cage, bottling every horrible feeling I’d ever experienced and training my heart to only explore those feelings on stage.

So I quit. Fairly typical of me to quit something I’m good at, for some reason I’m afraid of things going too well. Perhaps I worry that it will eventually become as good as it can get, and once it’s reached its potential it can only end, so I’d rather back out before I have to experience the heartbreak. I don’t think I wanted to ever find out what “as good as it can get” would be with my acting career. What if I would only ever get cast in one off-off broadway show, or be doomed to do Doritos commercials for the rest of my life? What if “as good as it can get” is just mediocre?

I spent the next two years being mediocre. Just kidding, because I’m awesome, but for the sake of this blog post, we’ll just say I was acting mediocre. I did the bare minimum, working easy jobs I knew I’d be good at, living at home, and hanging out with friends. I knew I wouldn’t have to worry about anything becoming worth enough to lose: I could exist in a non-changing environment risk-free…I was looking for nothing. I was basically sitting on a papasan with my thumb in my butt, sucking the other one, and not giving two shits that there was a whole world of non-mediocre activities and opportunities to explore.

I can’t say when, and I can’t say how, (I can say both of those things I’m not totally retarded, its an expression), but I got a hold of some happy. I felt something I hadn’t felt in years; the feeling that my heart was escaping my chest and tickling my body, that there wasn’t any offer I’d think to refuse, that every person walking down the street deserved a big fat smile, food was the most nourishing and delicious natural phenomenon, every morning was fresh and exciting, and time was not a burden but the greatest gift I’d ever been given. I know we’re all “on the pursuit of happiness,” but I don’t think we really are. I think we’re on the pursuit of what career we think will make us happy, or the pursuit of a talent we’re trying to hone, or the pursuit of love, or the pursuit of addiction, or escape or discovery or change. We’re on a quest for a solution; the means to finding happiness, instead of happiness itself.

That’s not what I’m looking for. I’m reaching for the source, working every moment to have happiness for the rest of my life. Waking up and feeling that kind of joy is the most powerful and rewarding delight. I’m not implying that I don’t need/want any other goals or experiences to feed my happiness, but I’d like to think that no matter what I’m doing, my bliss is coming from me, me, me.

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