525,600 minutes . . .

Recently I have been thinking a lot about the musical “Rent”. One particular song has become an earworm–“Seasons of Life”. However, the pretty melody of the complete song is not what keeps ringing in my head. It’s the short phrase: “five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes”. Great—now it’s in your head too!

It’s as if the mythological Fates were reminding me that I’m over halfway Home—and I’m not talking about the interstate highway and my address. I realize that choosing a different career path later in life allows me fewer years to create; but, I can take solace knowing there are individuals that were late bloomers and managed to have successful finishes: Van Gogh, Monet, Leonard Cohen, and Dr. Seuss, to name a few. There’s no question that starting this creative endeavor in mid-life allows me to draw from considerable practical experience, education and, hopefully, wisdom. But, somehow we mid-lifer’s always seem to find an excuse, which is always a very grown-up and practical excuse, to not fulfill our dreams.

Sometimes we just need a little push in completing our projects. I once read in “The Dramatist”, a magazine distributed by The Dramatist Guild, that the best way to complete a play was to book a theatre. When you have a date set, there’s no going back. So, in late November, I booked a date to perform at FronteraFest in Austin. In this short-fringe festival, I submitted one, 8-minute scene of a yet-to-be-completed musical I’m working on. This commitment forced me to look at every single line and to focus on making the piece the best it could be. I had to do all the preparation during the holidays because the piece was performed in early January. There were times when I rued the day I committed to the project, especially when I needed actors to commit during the busiest time of the year. However, in the end, I believe I was the better for it.

Also, since my last blog, I have signed up for a course titled “Outlining Lab” at WritingMusicalTheatre.com. This is my first on-line class and I have thoroughly enjoyed learning more about conflict, adaptation, format, and the process of outlining. The class is helping me re-evaluate one of my previously produced musicals. And since the class is a work-at-your-own-pace class, I find myself having to plow through the assignments, giving myself deadlines to complete the projects. This is where loving what you do comes in. Sometimes certain seemingly random assignments can become the tiny solid blue piece of sky that is absolutely necessary to complete the 1,000-piece puzzle. Small, but necessary.

I was recently reading a book about habits. One sentence read “you are what you do”. It made me think of the things I do throughout the day that don’t coincide with my big picture plan. Yes, some of the to-do’s are important for daily living, but with a closer look, I realize that there are holes in my day that, upon evaluation, can be filled or replaced with blue sky pieces that eventually will add up to fulfilling some of my career goals. It really is all a matter of priority.

You are what you do . . .525,600 minutes . . .You are what you do . . . 525,600 minutes.

Thank you for joining me on this journey. . . from Austin.

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