Like I've written once or twice before, the freelance nature of my profession leads me to work in fits and starts, twelve and thirteen hours a day for months at a time, followed by weeks of unemployment while I seek out the next project. Typically, I welcome this. It's a vacation of sorts that lets me reset my psychological and spiritual mechanisms, unburdened by the stress and shimmy of a buzzing production office.
Unfortunately, the winter doldrums of film and television production often leave me unengaged for longer than I'd like and this is not at all good for me.
When I don't work for an extended period, I float. I loose my center. I become despondent. With little to fill my days but television, blogging, the occasional household chore and extremely long walks, I find myself keeping much too much of my own company. I go into and stay too deep into my own head. I worry. I obsess. I ponder my own mortality. I freak out about my negative income stream. I mull and muse on all the roads not taken. My fickle fears, my silent inadequacies and my petty jealousies make meals my excess attention. I start to really dislike myself.
This last bout of idleness has been both uncharacteristically long and particularly difficult, full of unwelcome surprises, hostile uncertainties and aimless obligations. Plans went astray. Friends turned away. I felt that I couldn't please anyone who mattered and I didn't understand what I'd done to earn the Gods' ire.
I was hired onto a new project this week. They haven't guaranteed me a slot for the run-of-show, just for the next two weeks but it doesn't matter. The gloves are back on and the challenge is afoot. I'm back where I belong, doing what I'm meant to do and all of the minutiae that is best unconsidered can be left thus.
A very dear friend, who's wisdom I trust, worries that I define myself too much by my work, that I'm too bound up in something that should be extrinsic to my sense of self. She fears that my dedication to, my obsession with my work is like an untreated disease or an addiction that will ultimately bring me low. She is probably right but, for as much weight as I give her consideration, I don't know if she understands the alternative.
I've heard that retirement is a killer, that people live longer if they have a reason to get up in the morning, if they have a job to do. I can see now how true that is in me. I'm glad to be back where I belong.