In 2006 I was a senior in high school and I attended the annual Thespian Conference, which was a chance for drama nerds from all around the state to gather and feel less awkward. The theme of Thespian Conference that year was “Alive” based on Howard Thurman’s quote “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
Last week I had a similar experience when I attended the National Conference for Theatre Communications Group, which is an annual gathering for grown-up theatre nerds. This year’s TCG Conference theme was “Crossing Borders,” but the concept of coming alive resounded with me more now than ever before. I had been working in a job that I did not care about or enjoy. My work environment was toxic and I was not passionate about what I was doing. However, because I was raised to believe that if I am faithful over a few things that I will be made a ruler over many, I refused to do a bad job in a bad job.
But, what touched me so deeply after spending four days with artists and arts administrators who dedicated decades of their lives to theatre is that ambivalence is a real time suck. I attended workshop after workshop where people spoke about the way theatre makes them come alive, and I realized that theatre does not make me come alive.
I am passionate about writing. Words are the reason I wake up in the morning. I like to write them, edit them, learn new ones. I realized that writing is my passion and theatre, specifically diversifying the field through providing education and production opportunities for people from underrepresented groups, is the cause that I want to advocate. I want to use my passion to advance my cause. I am good at theatre marketing and community engagement, my resume proves it, but that’s just a talent. I was put on this earth to write, and art happens to be what I enjoy writing about the most.
For the past few months I have been taking steps toward a change in career to go from working in the theatre industry to the publishing industry, and two opportunities to do so presented themselves. I have decided to take the steps away from what I know in order to move toward I want, and I have no idea what is about to happen. What I do know is that I am a willing participant in my search for what I am willing to dedicate decades to doing, and that is the most important step in coming alive.