A facebook friend just posted one of those inspirational quote photos - you know, with the mountains and the sunset (kinda like that picture up there) and big block letters - that said "Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life." That post was immediately followed by another friend's post, a cartoon of a horse on the phone that said "when my parents ask me why I only have two dollars in my bank account" and the caption "because I have no self-control and I hate myself." Of late my bank account has had a much smaller number than I'm usually comfortable with. I have always prided myself on being fairly frugal and completely financially independent. I'm lucky enough to have no student debt, and I work hard enough to pay off my credit card bill every month and pay my rent on time. I do okay.
In the last six months or so, I've been able to adjust my jigsaw puzzle of a work schedule (at present I have four jobs; that's pretty standard) so that I have time for things like going to auditions and working on my play - creative endeavors that previously took a backseat to three years of making myself financially stable after college, so that I could afford to stay in New York and do things like go to auditions and work on my play. So, huzzah! I achieved a goal! I am maintaining that goal! Yet now as I get to spend more time doing those artistic things that don't pay out (yet), my bank account sits at a consistently lower balance than I'd ideally like.
When I look at the number that is (usually) higher than my next rent check or (barely) credit card bill, I get a little anxious that I don't have more of a cushion to fall back on in an emergency. But I have chosen to forge my path in the shoes of an artist, and that is not a path of security. So while I fill my bank account to dance around the line of "just enough for one new sweater" or "I'll pretend I can afford this vintage record," I've been able to fill my life to dance around the world, taking exciting trips to inspiring places.
Back in November I traveled to England to visit a friend and together we went to Berlin. In January I took my birthright trip to Israel. People said I was "lucky" to get to travel so much. But luck only has a little to do with it. True, it wasn't hard work that gave me a Jewish parent, which entitled me to a free trip to Israel, but luck had nothing to do with me saving up nearly $1,000 to take a trip to Europe. That was working seven days a week and putting a weekly $20 in a coffee can for a year. No accident, no moment of luck or chance put me on a plane to London.
And sure. I could have put that money in the bank, or kept that money in my coffee can to pretend it didn't exist until an emergency arrived and I needed an extra month's rent. But I'm not the cautious, stingy kid I once was. I'm proud to say adulthood has made me a little reckless. Still responsible, still paying my bills, but free to splurge on what I've worked hard for. I'm making a living and making a life. I have self-control and I don't hate myself, even if my bank account is on the small side. I'm free to build my actor's life, my writer's perspective, one audition, one trip at a time.