Keep your options open.
It's been about a year. It's been about a year since I started thinking outside the box, thinking about finding my own path rather than forcing myself into a pre-constructed one. I've had my share of wake up calls and learned several lessons. The most important one is that I'll never stop learning. Just when I think I've figured it out, or that I've finally learned how to manage my expectations, something new always came out of left field. This happened twice over the last week.
The first of these events took place while I was in Toronto. As part of the huge leap I've decided to take into the acting and modeling world, I signed with an agency in Toronto, and was booked for headshots in Toronto. This time, I decided to drive rather than take the train. Well it was less of a decision and more of a necessary evil. Take the train is expensive. I'm broke as hell. (Turns out though, that when you factor in all the gas you need to drive a 15 hour round trip, it's not that much cheaper) I don't care what anyone says, driving for 7 hours by yourself is an ordeal, and I'm amazed by all those who drive that and more daily (I'm thinking truck drivers). 7 hours alone does lend itself to quite a bit of thinking, and of course I was mentally reviewing the decision I'd made to drive all the way to Toronto for headshots. In fact, it hadn't occurred to me that I could probably use a photographer closer to home until a friend mentioned it. I think I might have been too excited when I signed the contract. Now it's not really the headshots I want to talk about, I feel like they turned out great, but moreso what happened right after. I was pretty jazzed about getting headshots done by a professional photographer, and already started thinking about the future. As I left the studio and started walking through Toronto like I belonged there, I felt like I should call my agent. I wanted to know what to do next. Sometimes your gut knows what's up. He asked me if I wanted to go to an audition. So I went to an audition, right after my headshots, the headshots I wasn't even sure if I should drive all the way to Toronto to get done. The headshots I was stressing about while I was in Peru. Feels like sometimes you take a leap without seeing where you're going and you actually land somewhere pleasant.
Second surprise of the week came during a wrestling show. I was working ring crew. As a rookie, this basically meant standing around until you saw someone doing something you knew how to do and doing it with them. You take the ring apart in the morning, take it to the venue and set it up. Then in the evening, you take it apart, bring it back and build it all over again. I was ready for this, it was the second time I'd worked a wrestling show, and I pretty much knew what to expect. I stayed busy, helpful and cheerful. Once the ring is built, the wrestlers will typically get in. Over the afternoon, they'll screw around, try some new moves and eventually start working on their match for the evening. As a good rookie, I let the veterans do their work, occasionally jumping in to run the ropes or try some moves of my all. Overall I do my best to stay out of they way, though no veteran has ever made me feel like I was in their way (they're sweet like that). So I'm running the ropes practicing some moves I'm less familiar with, when my coach and the booker (both wrestlers, who usually wrestle each other) come up to the ring. Super simply, matter-of-factly even, they ask "So want to be in the battle royale tonight?" Now I didn't even know there was a battle royale that night. Now I was going to be put in it? I was still trying to wrap my head around my debut, which was a bit less than a week away. But of course I said yes. I wanted to get in that ring. I spent the next few hours entirely on edge. My role in the match itself was relatively small. I beat on a few of the wrestlers, I got beat on myself, until I got thrown over the top rope. Oh yeah, and I'd never really done that before? I didn't hurt myself too bad, so I think the match was a success.
It all comes down to something I've heard over and over again from people I look up to, people I consider successful. Luck is nothing but hard work and opportunity. Real opportunities only come around a few times in a lifetime. Showing up and doing the work is what gets you the opportunity, and the more you work, the more that opportunity works for you. I used to think people were lucky, that connections and the randomness of the universe got them to where they are. After working my ass off for about a year, trudging through time in a way I never did when I was hourly, I'm starting to understand how opportunity works. I'm starting to understand what people like to call "luck". I got an audition in Toronto because I was willing to go up there for representation and a photoshoot. I got put in the battle royale because I showed up to train at the gym every week for months, even when it wasn't convenient. As hard as this year was, I love where it's brought me. I haven't necessarily loved all the surprises it's had for me, but they're what brought me here. I love where I'm at, and I'm looking forward to where I'll be.
Right now? I'm focusing on my pro wrestling debut. It's all that matters for the next four days.