I saw a fantastic bumper sticker in the school parking lot this morning. Maybe you’ve seen this one before too. It says:
“But what if the Hokey Pokey IS what it’s all about?!”
I laughed out loud, all by myself in the parking lot. Not just because it’s super clever, but it reminded me to laugh at what has been mulling around in my head for the past week. It’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you’re working in a job disconnected from your career (even if it’s a really fantastic one). As a creative person, the predictability of any office really gets under my skin. If I don’t feel that I have the freedom to shake up my schedule, nothing gets done. I get home feeling discouraged at the end of the day, and fight against my frustration to work on anything. I start to slip into the, “Is this what it’s all about?” panic.
So yes, the bumper sticker reminded me of how ridiculous I was being. I may not know, or will ever know, “what it’s all about,” but I need to remember that the little things- the emails, the chores, the traffic, is NOT what it’s all about. I do know that, it just takes some reminding. All of those things are important, but they’re the “back-end” of life, not what we will remember twenty or fifty years from now. Should we stop doing all of these things? No, of course not.
The most important thing for me to remember is keeping a sense of humor about the whole thing. In the theatre, you spend a lot of time looking around (at an audition warm-up room, a strange class, a bizarre thankless role) and saying, “What the hell am I doing with my life?” I’m sure this is true with other industries. Not to mention the crazy hours, the low pay, and constant emotional cheerleading you have to do to keep yourself from going off the deep end. So you have to laugh. You really do. Until you find that balance, these strange moments are important seeds to be planted. But there is definitely something better down the line.
The Hokey Pokey is not what it’s all about, and neither is all of the back-end details that often bring us down or wear us out. It all adds up to something much better, and in the meantime, we can take ourselves a little less seriously.