Friday, November 20, 2009

Well...? Adjusted.


(<---------That's a pic of my mother and me!)

It's a quarter 'til 2 in the morning and I should be in bed, but I'm up thinking, plotting, planning, researching, and reviewing.  I was in a really foul mood earlier this week- wait, let me go back.

I worked on the production gig (a Jennifer Hudson Christmas special) that shot in Chicago.  That's my hometown, so I got to see the fam as well.  I worked hard, but I got paid, and I got a trip home, so it was all pretty much gravy (except for my grandfather's health not being well).  The job was cool, and I enjoyed my family.  It was also nice to be away from L.A. and give my mind a rest.  Y'know, stop figuring out how to game the machine.

When I returned to Los Angeles and went through my mail, there were more bills than anything else.  Without telling too much of my personal business, there is a particular entity that owes me money (that I was counting on) and is disputing it over some nonsense.  Basically, I got back and realized that even with the job I just worked, I'm still broke.

I started questioning "What in the world am I doing with my life??"  Bad economy or not, at my age, I shouldn't be in a position of having to borrow money to pay my rent.  I had to reevaluate my choices - "Is it irresponsible of me to work in such a volatile industry?"  "Is there something else I could be doing right now?"  "Is this really worth it?"

I am thankful that I have a wide variety of interests, and a number of different options for making a living.  I don't feel like acting is the only thing that I can do, and not even the only thing I WANT to do with my life.  But after kicking around a bunch of other options, this really is still what I want to do right now, and I'm not done yet.  I thought I was being responsible in saving for my retirement, buying stock, and minimizing my personal debt.  Then the bottom fell out, I had to pull out all the money so I could live right now.  Suze Orman would surely scream, and Uncle Sam is going to put a hurtin' on me at tax time, but I'm glad I had it stashed away so I could avoid living in my car.  At this point, all I can do is continue with my 'creative accounting':  pay what I can to whomever I can and do better when I can.  I DO want to diversify and have multiple streams of income from various sources, so I need to come up with a plan to make that happen.  Really, had I booked any commercials this year, I would not be in this mess because commercial residuals can go a long way toward keeping the bills paid, plus some.

After the good 3-year run I had, this financial downturn really, really sucks.  Really.  Deciding whether to pay my past-due dentist's bill or to pay my utilities is hardly a fun way to pass the time.  PLUS I need more headshots, and I need to send out postcards.  I need car repairs, I need, I need, I need.  Not having enough money to pay for all of my (personal and business) essentials is stressful, but in order to pull out of that funk, I had to put it all into perspective:  I'm still standing, I have my health, and faith that this, too, shall pass.  Watch.

This is the career path I've chosen, and this is just how it is sometimes.  I think anybody working without a steady paycheck knows the feeling.  Flying without a net can be exhilarating... until you fall.  But then you heal, and you move on, a bit battered (that would be my credit rating), but wiser for the experience.  I don't know what tomorrow will bring, but today, I'm making lemonade.

Good night.

--Nicole

"The darkest hour is just before the dawn."

4 comments:

Minou said...

Oh, hon, I'm so with you! You're doing this now for quite a while and you should earn the money, you deserve! Like everyone of us should:-) But I believe - with all my heart and my soul - that this time will come! We are strong persons and that's why we're going through this situation (don't ask me why we're always have to be tested, I find that pretty stupid:-)).
Keep on moving. It's your thing and you're gonna make it! Better times will come...
Love, Julia

AmbitiousB said...

This is such a timely post for me! I've had to ask myself the same question~ "Am I irresponsible to continue in my pursuit of acting as a career?" It's a hard one to answer, especially since I'm also a parent. But I believe, like you, that the answer is in having other options that can bring in income. Maybe 2010 will bring you some more national commercials or maybe some other side hustle will prove beneficial. Just wanted to encourage you & to let you know that you're not alone.

Michelle | When I Grow Up Coach said...

It happens to the best of us, Nicole! It seems like you've really learned something from this situation. You DID make good choices with diversifying & saving, but can you see it as, "Wow. This sucked, but I'm taking away something. Something is socking more money away for The Rainy Day(s) than I thought was necessary. That security blanket is worth more than the stock."

You're living, you're learning, you're assessing & checking in with yourself - you are ahead of the pack, let me tell you!

Nicole J. Butler said...

Such thoughtful comments from everybody. I appreciate your taking the time to respond!

Julia - Time and pressure creates diamonds, right?? :o)

Brandi -This comment made me think, and inspired me. If you, being responsible for the well-being of another human being can do this, surely I can hang in there until I get back to the 'good' part! And thanks for keeping me from falling into the trap of believing the biggest lie ever told: "I am the only one."

Michelle - You've been on my mind! I'll explain in my next post, lol. You're right, though - I did the best I could and that's really all anyone can do. The rain came & flattened my sandcastle, so now I have to build again. Not easy, but simple.