A Crisis of Identity


I’m damn near forty years old.

To many people my age, speaking aloud the above phrase can stir up feelings of terror, remorse, regret, anxiety and nighttime diarrhea desperate soul searching.

To others, it brings about a moment of reflection. Paths walked and paths unchosen.

I am one of the latter.

Am I anywhere near where I set out to be in my twenties? In many ways, yes. I work exclusively in the arts, a field which makes me happy, though not rich. I have a dance company that is not what I would refer to as famous but is fairly popular and respected in its community. I am a choreographer whose work is sought out by dancers and companies of various age and status. I am an accomplished theater producer.

These were all goals I had in my twenties, now fulfilled to varying degrees. Wonderful! Fabulous! Is it enough? Well…

When you’ve had your nose to the grindstone for thirteen years…well, that’s a long time to have your head down, you know? I looked up and realized that different things are important to me now. Or rather, things matter to me in a different way and for different reasons. Obviously, being fierce and fabulous aren’t enough. Being everywhere for everyone at any given time isn’t as practical, fun or beneficial as it might once have been.

Having spent these last thirteen-plus years honing a particular craft, I have acquired and/or discovered another skill set. (Writer, stage and film director, comedian, actor, lighting designer, the maitre d’ I serve the tea and look at me I’m Heavy D etc.)  I’m wondering if now is not the time to start exploring these new skills as my focus. I need more…what? I just need more. And since I can’t allow myself but so much idle time, I will re-create myself.

In short, I’ve become more expensive. I can’t afford anything less than my worth. Which means being more selective. Which means less scrambling but more scrambling. Which means fewer jobs but better jobs…theoretically.

But is it a good idea? Can I pull it off? Is it feasible? Is it worth it?

Sigh…we shall see, I suppose.


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