Last week I celebrated my 29th birthday. I had this whole thing where I wasn't gonna tell people my "real age" as I do play much younger but who are we kidding? My damn birthday is on IMDb so everyone has already seen it anyway. When I was in my early 20's all my friends were figuring out what they wanted to do with the rest of their lives and I was the only one who actually knew! I had a goal and I was going after it while everyone else was taking random classes trying to figure out their hearts desire.
Then came mid-2o's. I was still pursing my dream, I had some success but I was hungry for adventure, so I did what any crazy artist would do - I packed my bags and moved to LA. While all my friends were graduating University and starting to navigate in the real world I was living in sunny California, doing my thing. I had nothing to hold me down. I did what I wanted, I made money where I could and spent all my free time in acting class or working on some sort of project. It was fantastic.
Of course the Universe had different plans for me and at 27 I was back in Vancouver and starting from scratch - again. But this time, instead of the one who had the focus and the envy of all my friends I came home broke and living with my mom while my friends all had great careers, were talking about (and actually do it!) buying their first homes, and having weddings or planning for a baby.
What exactly was I doing again? Oh yeah right, following my bliss. 2010 was a hard year. It was a struggle and there were times where even getting out of bed was hard. I questioned all my life choices. I thought I'd be further along in my career, I thought I'd have "success", I thought I'd have someone to share my life with and I thought that I'd be at the very least financially independent and living you know, not with my mom.
Okay, I'm getting to my point I promise. The point is, I LOVE what I do. When I got my butt back into class and remembered why I decided to go in this direction in the first place. My purpose is to make films, to create art. It's not about money and for sure not about fame and as soon as I remembered that and stopped trying to define "success", everything fell into place.
The last 3 years have been difficult and hard and so friggin amazing! I understand what I've given up and its a sacrifice that I'm happy to make. It's hard to maintain relationships when you have a work schedule that constantly changes and you are laser focused on your career, friendships have been put to the test and there is no such thing as financial security for me. But its okay. I made a choice and after taking a look at everything I made the right choice.
My hard work is finally paying off. I'm in such a great place and doing what I love every single day. My friends who are really my friends get it. They understand when I have to cancel last minute or re-arrange plans, they come to my shows and "like" my fan pages. They also know that I respect them and their lives and what is important to them and I support everything they do. My friend Simone is the smartest person I know. She publishes in scientific magazines and even though I don't understand a word I read everything she writes and I'm SO proud of her. My friend Julie has gotten her masters while maintaining a long-distance marriage - did I mention she lived in Japan for a year and did her practicum in INDIA! My friend Liz is raising not one but TWO amazing boys - on a island! My friend Megan is planning a move to Africa - where she's gonna help people in villages grow things. My friend Alex is the most kick ass personal trainer on the planet and is very soon gonna be running all the Steve Nash locations! And the list goes on.
I'm selfish sometimes. I use to feel guilty about it, but when you have a goal you have to go after it and sometimes that means putting yourself and your goals first. As long as you find balance. I don't want to be the person that has regrets.
I'm so lucky. I have so many people around me that support me. I love watching my friends in the industry succeed - and when I look at their dedication, it doesn't make me feel bad about mine. So I guess the point I'm trying to make is this, as said so well by Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own "It's the hard that makes it great". Go after your dreams, live your life the way you want to - not matter what it is. And if we're friends know that I support what you do and hope that you can support me. And when I miss your birthday or can't come to your baby shower, I am thinking about you and I will make it up to you :)