I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be an actress. Dress-up was my game. My friends and I would stage scenes, ballets, doll shows, whatever we could convince a few people to sit down and watch. If we couldn't find an audience, we made one or role-played without one.
At 10, my best friend and I were writing short plays and putting them on for our classmates. Truly riveting stuff like 'The Polar Bear and the Ice Cube.'
At 13 we were dabbling in community theatre and we were always playing characters. We had personas for every world from Les Mis to Hairspray. We mimicked the greats from Ethel Merman to David Spade.
My parents thought acting was a great hobby, but they played true to type and pushed me to pursue a 'real' job.
I dabbled in Psychology and briefly attended a Great Books college but by the time my classmates were graduating, I was married with three children and a condo. I thought acting and I were done forever.
I'd felt 'behind' at 12 watching the girls on Full House. When I hadn't 'done it all at 26' my coffin felt as surely sealed as Evita's.
I homeschooled my kids and as I helped them find the paths to what they want to be when they grow up, I asked myself what I wanted to be.
I answered phones and did bookkeeping for my parents' business, I was a Realtor, I ran for political office, I gardened, I cooked and got into nutrition, animal husbandry, novel writing and so on.
I decided I wasn't one of those people who had a passion or a calling.
When my youngest turned 13 - 5 years away from adulthood - I declared myself to be in my Sandbox Years. I mentally gave myself 5 years to just play, to get dirty and dig and build and see if I could make a successful life as an entrepreneur or artist.
To be continued....