So declared my teacher at Upright Citizens Brigade, aka UCB, and with this casual pronouncement, sent me spinning into a crisis of comedy faith.
Improv is a lifeline. It makes me light up like nothing else. But four nights a week? If I’m in a troupe I love, sure. If someone’s paying me, sure (ha). But right now? In the middle of life as I know it? I have too much else I care about. Four nights a week is a commitment I’m not willing to make.
I love improv, but I also love writing. And yoga. I’m also still new to New York, and it’s important to me to explore the city, beyond the dismal blocks of Manhattan that house UCB and its satellite training center. Plus, a girl needs time to spend with her husband, and friends, and this girl needs a LOT of downtime, otherwise I start to feel like an animal trapped in a cage.
So. Where does that leave me? It certainly leaves me questioning my future as an improviser in this town. But more broadly, it raises an issue I’m sure many of you relate to, which is: How do you balance your passions?
There are some people in this world who have the gift of singular focus. They live and breathe comedy, or medicine, or scuba diving, and it is only when they are doing that thing that they are happy; and while this certainly must come with its own challenges, it also allows a certain ease, a certain simplicity, that those of us with multiple passions need to work harder to experience.
Yesterday, I felt off all day. Negative, and antsy, and kind of empty. Then I went to yoga class, and voila: I was transformed. I felt alive again, back in my body, grounded. Clearly, I need yoga in my life.
Right now, I’m thrilled to finally be writing a blog post again after several days, and thrilled to see what you’ll write in the comments — what kind of discussion we’ll have, and what I’ll learn from you.
When I don’t write, and blog, and practice yoga… I am less-than-me. Right now, I’m in between improv classes, and in between groups, and I feel like a string of Christmas lights with a dark patch — a section that isn’t lighting up.
I need to work harder at feeling fulfilled than someone with a singular passion, or someone less passionate overall. You know the saying, “With great power comes great responsibility”? I think passion is a kind of power. It’s a gift, and the greater your passion, the harder to have to work to create space for it in your life.
Here’s the twist: the more space I create for my passions, the easier it becomes to find the space. Wha?! It’s true. The universe rewards our commitment. It can feel impossible, fitting all those puzzle pieces into your day, but when you do it… when you do what you love, no matter how many things you love… it’s like a little space opens up where you never would have expected, and your love expands into it, and then more space, and more again…
As far as me and improv… maybe I’m just balking at anyone telling me how many nights a week it takes to be serious about something that’s been a centerpiece of my life for over five years. I do things MY way, buster. It’s how I roll.
Does any of this resonate for you? What passions are you trying to balance? Any secrets you’ve found that you’re willing to share?