How do I figure out what I want to do and where I want to live and move to the other side of the country at the same time? Nature, dislike of large cities, an acting career...loooots of text inside, lots of explanation. Help!
posted by Emms to Work & Money (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
So this question is a bit complicated, but I'l try to lay it out as simple as I can. There's so many factors here and this is going to be super long...sorry!
I am a female living in NYC. I just turned 24. I was raised here and am currently living in my parent's apartment. I lived here almost year round until I was 18, when I went to college for acting at a state university a few hours away. As a senior in high school, I knew that I very much wanted to leave NYC for college and experience living in a new place, and initially was wary about the school I chose to go to because it was too close to NYC, and I didn't want to be so close. However, I had a great time, and am now (hugely) grateful I chose the state school over the more prestigious and MUCH more expensive private school I also got accepted to, because of the fact that I now have some money saved that I wouldn't have had otherwise.
The plan was always that after school I would try to become a professional actor, joining the hordes of young grads in NYC trying to work their way to Broadway or the Oscars or whatever. However, in my senior year of college, I realized that I really, really didn't want to go back and live in NYC right away, that I still wanted to live away and experience different things. Additionally, I LOVE traveling, and have always loved the UK and respected the place that theatre has in British culture. So I ended up spending my senior year applying and auditioning for various postgrad and master programs for acting in the UK, and got accepted to one! Yay! And so I went.
I spent the year in England, loved it, and still really REALLY didn't want to go back to the US and especially, NYC. Try as I might I couldn't find a way to get a UK visa to try to live and work as an actor in London, and ended up (reluctantly and tearfully) leaving the country this past summer.
My first stop back in the US was returning to a summer job I've held since my last year in high school, at a sort of farm and retreat center in northern New England. I love the place and have many close friends there, and have always loved working there, in the outdoors and the mountains and the dirt and etc. I thought it would be a good transitional period to make some money and assimilate back to the US before being plonked down back in NYC. I kind of assumed that this past summer would have been my last full summer working there, because I would start to need to do real (and not seasonal) work and focus on my acting career.
This summer at the center, quite unexpectedly, I met a guy, a native New Englander. We got together over the summer but were initially unsure of our ability to work after the summer ended because of the distance. I go back to the city, he stays in NE, and this is where things get complicated.
Six months later, we are still together, and very happily so, having managed to spend a good deal of time together despite the distance. Simultaneously, in the past six months, I've also been going through a bit of an identity crisis, and have realized a few things:
-I thought that after spending time away I could deal with living in NYC, because that's where so much of the acting work is. It shouldn't have come as a surprise to me, however, that after having not wanting to live in NYC for so long I actually, still, DON'T want to live in NYC. (Shocker!) I simply cannot live my life here. I'm sick of it, I'm over it, and I need to live somewhere else, preferably far away.
-This has morphed into not being sure if I want to live in a large city, period. I need a change.
-I love acting and the performing arts, and it's not that I don't want to be an actor anymore, but that I don't think I want to devote my life to working as a waiter/doing unfulfilling work/trying to make something happen for me as an actor. That would mean a life most likely living in NYC (nope), LA (definitely nope), or Chicago (perhaps, but still not enthused, I need a change from big cites), devoting my life to getting a break that may never happen. I want to live a fulfilling, rich, creative, adventurous life NOW, not at some undefinable point in the future.
-I love the outdoors and nature, and I love to travel, and I want the flexibility to do so and not be stuck and tied down to a single place. (Basically my worst nightmare.) This is in agreement with my boyfriend's career interests--he wants to work in the outdoors, but also majored in English and needs some sort of culture around him as well. Spending so much time in the outdoors with him in last few months (hiking trips, etc.) has made me realize a love of being and working in nature is a part of myself I've long suppressed in favor of the artsy city life I thought I wanted.
-And it's like, I DO want some of the artsy city life, but I don't want JUST that. I need variety and energy and I need to do lots of things. I'm very much an ENFP, if that information helps anyone understand where I'm coming from. I'd rather do a job that's fun and fulfilling and that I enjoy even if it's not very lucrative, than a job that pays a lot of money but I don't enjoy.
It has been a very strange fall/winter. Being in my parent's home and in NYC is more than just boring and undesirable for me; I'm pretty sure I'm depressed. I've had some random jobs and am good at saving so I'm not TOO low on money, but not consistently working is making me more bored and unhappy and restless than anything. At this point, I wouldn't be opposed to living pretty much ANYWHERE else, provided it's in the northern half of the country and not the northeast.
Even a small town in the mountains of Colorado or something is more preferable to me than living in NYC. I think that would be a great experience, and though I don't think I could live there forever, I certainly could for a little while. Just to get out of here, and live in a beautiful place. But it's not like there are tons of creative jobs in those places...I've thought about going into children's theater, maybe after school theater programs or something? Or forgoing that for a little while and doing something nature or animals related? Or something else entirely?
I'm just kind of at a loss and don't know where to go from here, and how to go about doing it. The plan right now is to return to the summer job where my boyfriend and I met. He's returning too. The idea is that it's a good way to spend more than a couple of weeks at a time in each other's company, see how things go, and take it from there. He very much wants to leave the northeast as well, which is good...we've discussed the possibility that if things go well this summer, we would like to move somewhere, if not together at least to the same area. He wants to work in the outdoors or as a writer or preferably both (his ideal job is to be a travel writer), I want to work in the performing arts and/or with nature or...I don't know.
I've thought about Seattle, or that the Seattle area would be a good fit for us. But how would I go about getting a job there? I know everyone says not to move without a job lined up, but my background and skills are in theater. How can I get a theater job from across the country? I have lots of interests and love to do many things. Part of me just wants to pick up and move there in the fall, would this be a good idea?
Any and all advice and info would be really helpful. I'm just kind of lost, and my boyfriend feels the same. I feel like I'm wasting a year of my life and am not being productive or creative or living up to my potential. I'm also finding it hard to motivate myself, since I have so much free time. If I end up coming back to NYC after this summer with no immediate plans to leave, and basically in the same place I was for all of this year, I think I will truly lose my mind. (For what it's worth, if things DON'T work out with my boyfriend this summer, I plan to leave the region anyway, even if it's by myself.) Where do I go from here? How do I do this?