change of plans

Okay friends, here's the deal: I'm staying in California.

How'd that happen?

Well, let me break it down for you. I've kind of been on the fence about this job from the beginning, and the primary reason for it is finances. The theatre I previously was contracted with hired locally, meaning they did not have the budget to support housing or transportation for out-of-town actors. Now, seeing as I did not have an official place to live at the time the job offer was made, I thought it would be entirely possible to move to Ft. Lauderdale on my own and make a living there. Turns out, I was wrong. So very wrong. When I actually sat down and analyzed my finances, I realized there was no way I could feasibly manage the move. Because I'm poor. Dirt poor. Everything that has happened this year - sublet fiasco, student loan payments starting, bouncing between acting jobs with just a few hundred dollars to tide me over until the next one begins - has drained my bank account down to the last meager drops. The time for dreaming is over.

That means I'm stuck in California indefinitely. It's not a bad place to be, believe me. The weather is nice, I don't have to pay rent, and I've already got a ton of friends to see and do things with (although most of them are employed, so I sit around and wait for them to call me after work is over and pray they aren't too tired to hang out for a little bit). My family is supportive of my career and the choices I have made to sustain it. I had a long talk with my parents about my decision to become an actor, which helped dispel some of their worries and, thankfully, helped me gain their trust and support. The only real trouble is that I don't have access to the auditions that will help me build my career. Also, the acting gigs that pay here don't pay very much. If I want to get back to New York, and I really, really, do, it will require some sacrifices.

Lord almighty, I don't want to sit behind a desk. But that seems like my only viable option if I want to get back to New York quickly. Suck it up for a year, make a ton of money, and start all over. The alternative means staying away for much longer, though I'd be doing what I love. Pick up acting jobs here and there, work in performance arts on the side, and slowly but surely save up that cash. Geez Louise, that is going to take FOREVER!

There are other things I have to consider and take care of before I head back to New York. Like the fact that I am now 26 years old and have no health insurance. Or that I have to save up money to pay the income taxes that weren't deducted from my 1099 acting jobs. Or those loans that need to be paid off. Or that I don't have a car to get around the suburbs, and if I'm going to stay as long as I think I am, I better buy one soon. Ugh. How is it possible that I missed the lesson on being a grown up?

I want to believe that this is the right choice, that this will eventually bring me back to where I know I belong. I wish I had a crystal ball at my disposal, one that would assure me that success is guaranteed somewhere down the line, provided that I stick around here for x amount of time. I really hope I don't regret this.

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