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Adult Education

I stopped being an actor because I wanted more not because I conceded defeat. It was a battle I wasn’t willing to have, so I stopped fighting.

IMG_4241Looking back, I feel like returning to school was an inevitability. The chain of events that led up to it perfectly dictated the decisions that had to be made. Adulthood, a funny thing I still have yet to fully grasp, seemed to have snuck up on me in a way I wasn’t quite prepared for. It surprizes me every day in the subtle changes in my reactions to the world. Small things now seem, well, small. And big things seem big. I suppose that’s the way it’s meant to be. Of course, the small things in my youth seemed much larger and scarier than they ever should. It’s that learning curve you hear about. And somehow I’ve come out the other side feeling more capable than I dreamed possible. It’s a manhood I feel like I’ve never felt before. Perhaps the choice to leave complacency behind and step into a new future has renewed my spirit.

I didn’t know what to expect when returning to school. I expected to be older than most of my peers. I am. I expected to work hard, be goal oriented and start the motions at climbing a ladder in my career even before the first rung is within reach. I believe I do. However, I didn’t expect my perceptions of myself to change as drastically as it has. I didn’t expect to feel so capable. I didn’t expect to seem so in the right place at the right time. I feel as though I have finally found a home for my talent that yields a payout that I deserve. Theatre, while being a creative outlet, was cruel to me. It demanded more than I could give for so little in return. Prestige? A sense of self? A fulfilling pastime? All lovely things, but not a life, not a home.

I did very little research before returning to school. There were two clear options to me: study advertising in Vancouver at BCIT or study advertising in Toronto, my hometown, at Seneca College. I will admit, that the reason I chose Seneca was because the program was called “Creative Advertising.” The word creative was what pulled me in and the description of the courses sealed the deal. It could have been a disaster, but I tend to fare well when listening to my gut. Good job gut. Good job.

My life has changed so much since moving back to Toronto from Vancouver last February. My perceptions have changed so much. Most significantly, I am happy in a way I haven’t been in a long time. I love my life. I love being back in school. I savour each day and I’m hungry for the next.

If you’re reading this, I hope you understand that purpose is among the most crucial components to a happy life. I know too many talented people who attended theatre school and meander through their lives, like lost children. They’ve been conditioned to believe that being an actor is the only thing they can be. It’s a lie. They believe that suffering is normal and that being anything other than an actor is accepting failure. I stopped being an actor because I wanted more not because I conceded defeat. It was a battle I wasn’t willing to have, so I stopped fighting.

Meanwhile, life continues, a new group of four just sat down next to me and are trying to understand why there is a G in the word gnocchi. My beer is almost empty, and perhaps I should ready myself for my evening plans. Thank you for sharing a moment with me.

Don’t be a stranger.

Sincerely yours,

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Caleb McMullen

Written by Caleb McMullen

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheatreisforSuckers.com

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