When Facing Doubt
It’s a strange feeling – uprooting your life to move somewhere you’ve already decided in your mind that you hate. The handful of times I visited Los Angeles while living in San Diego I fixated on every negative aspect: congested, overpopulated, too big, a lack of natural open space, fake, and just dirty. I never thought I’d move to Los Angeles, never.
Yet here I am.
Struggling, confused, and crying more than our society believes a man should ever cry; so at least once. In a bizarre twist of fate I now call L.A. my home. Though I constantly find myself asking, “Why?”
That question has plagued me for the last eleven days. I feel ridiculous even saying eleven days. I haven’t even given this fucking city a chance. Because part of me doesn’t want to.
I can’t resign to a life in L.A. because I believe there’s a better life waiting for me back in Denver. One with remarkable friends, my own business, beautiful women I’m interested in, and a spectacular city with hiking, running, biking, skiing, and all the nature I could want. I can still turn around. I can still reclaim the life I had. It would be easy: get up off this couch right now, throw my bike on the rack, repack a few items, put that little metal key in the ignition and hop on I-15 North. Sixteen hours later and I’m home; nothing more than an extended vacation. It would be like I never left.
What a blatant lie.
I left. That life doesn’t exist anymore, even if it has been only eleven days. It’s not the duration of time that has passed that matters, it’s the intention. When you tell everyone you know that you’re going to pursue a new endeavor, pack up your life into a car, quit your job and leave, even before you walk out that door for the last time your old life no longer exists. Heraclitus believed, “You cannot step twice into the same stream,” and I’ve already taken my foot out of the water.
I should be able to accept this better than most. I’ve overcome the struggles of moving on from the past numerous times before and this situation is no different. But actually, it is.
For the first time in my life I’m making a big move not to run away from something, but to run toward something. I came to Los Angeles for the entertainment business (not porn). The big dream is to write, direct, produce, and star in my own comedic television series. I’m not here to avoid any drama back home – there’s no ex-girlfriend to escape, no shitty job I want to Houdini my way out of. I have no good reason to let this part of my life slide into the dark recesses of my memory. I want to hold onto it all.
That makes it tough. Creating new memories becomes extremely difficult when you have a white knuckle grip on the old ones, holding them too closely to the present instead of letting them settle where they belong; in the unchangeable past. Unfortunately that seems to be where I’m living right now, filling my head with rhetorical what if’s and debilitating doubt.
I’m questioning whether or not the dream that caused me to move to L.A. is even a dream I want to pursue anymore. The scariest part is that I find myself saying, no.
Where I struggle is determining whether that’s how I really feel or if my thoughts and emotions are being clouded by the fear of uncertainty and the discomfort associated with being in a new environment. I don’t know. I can’t even answer that right now because it’s too soon. Yeah, it’s too soon.
It’s going to take some time.
Some of the truest words ever spoken – that provide zero help in the short term. I’m still going to be overwhelmed by living in a new city. I’m still going to struggle to find work and a place to live. I’m still going to miss my friends. I’m still going to cry from time to time. But if I can keep that incredibly simple and profound advice in the back of my mind maybe it actually can help me; encourage me to hold on a little longer and fight a little harder.
I can’t truly know if the entertainment world is for me or not until I’ve given it some time. I have to immerse myself in it. I have to give it everything. And when there’s nothing left to give then, and only then, can I answer truthfully without reservation or regret.
In the months leading up to my departure from Denver I kept telling myself that this next phase of my life was going to be difficult. I knew it would be challenging. But there’s a big difference between knowing something and experiencing it.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
– Theodore Roosevelt
Here I am. Living the life I’ve been thinking about for months, only it’s different from the world I conjured up in my mind. I did this to myself so there’s no one to blame. It’s going to suck, it’s going to try my patience, and I’ll want to leave again in the near future. But I won’t. I have to see this one through. Things will change, but it’s going to take some time.
Enjoy The Journey
Photo credit (creative commons): Atwater Village Newbie