This post isn’t about recipes, restaurant reviews or travel guides. I haven’t written on the blog in a few weeks because life has felt insane and before I can get back to writing all that fun content I just needed a post about life and what’s been happening lately.

Since March I have been rehearsing for two comedy shows that have brought so much laughter and life to my everyday experiences. I’ve been reunited with cast members from before and met some incredible new friends as well. Everything has been fun and fulfilling and enjoyable… and when life gives you these incredible moments to cherish there are also moments of stress, insecurity, and challenges. It’s like in order for those really amazing experiences to happen there has to be this trade off, this balance on the other end of the spectrum.

But I don’t always remember that right away. I often think of things as one dimensional. It doesn’t really make any sense since all of my experiences in life have taught me that I should have a different way of managing my expectations. I’ve been alive long enough to know that all of the really really GREAT stuff in life always has an underlying plot line of those unsavory qualities like anxiety and grueling hours put in. We’re taught that anything that’s WORTH it should be challenging and probably scare us a little bit. It should change us and make us grow. We also know that growing and learning isn’t always a painless experience, in fact it’s probably pretty apparent that it’ll take it’s toll. So then with knowing that and having experienced that why do I still look at things in this black and white way? I’m thinking to myself, “These shows are going to be so fun and yea they’re going to be time consuming but I love acting and I’ll be doing what I love. Time will pass away and it’ll be so rewarding,”

Is that untrue? No. But it’s also not the whole truth, right? At least not for me. I tend to take the things I’m really passionate about a little too seriously. When I’m in something I’m in it. There isn’t always room to balance all of the other things I should also be prioritizing. So through all of the times I was peeing my pants laughing at rehearsal, all the times I felt like I connected with one of my castmates or I had a really amazing moment on stage …there was also the flip side of the coin. All the times I had back to back fourteen hour days, all the times I had to sacrifice time with Curtis, all the times I was tired and dreading rehearsal.

While that division between good and bad is completely normal there was something in it that didn’t make a ton of sense to me. If I always have fun at rehearsal (and I really almost always do) then why am I dreading it at times? I couldn’t reconcile it. How can I feel so thankful for something but also feel overtaken by it. It hit me that even the good things in our lives, if there’s not balance, can become too much. We can start to resent them because we subconsciously feel how they’re pulling us away from other also important goals. We’re all elaborately built to try and accomplish an array of ambitions that are constantly taking turns as our highest focus of the moment. If we aren’t in control of what ambitions gets to take precedence then we can start to feel trapped by too much of a good thing.

That’s why most truly good things in our lives require a sacrifice from us. While I KNOW that it’s like the wheels of my brain have sluggishly been catching up on this topic lately. What I’ve been mulling over is how the sacrifices make it that much more enjoyable. Maybe not in the moment, but definitely in the long run. That’s something I had to realize in order to get through that shadowed side of the coin. Have I had to give up a lot of time with Curtis? Yes, but it was so meaningful to hug him after opening night and see the pride in his eyes because he of all people knew the hard work I had put in. If there hadn’t been the sacrifice then there wouldn’t be something to really celebrate. It wouldn’t have been as rewarding. The complexity of the experience, the grueling and the fun, is what has made the lasting impression. These are the situations that make us feel the most alive.

It is hard to get ourselves ready sometimes for the sacrifice. We want things to be enjoyable all the time even though we realize how futile that is. But we constantly try. To be the best, to have the best, to experience the best. How are we supposed to understand the realistic sacrifice of each season if we’re holding on to these unrealistic expectations? And so we have to let them go. Not to push “the best” onto each situation but to accept the reality and MAKE the best of it exactly as it is. How? I’m still working on that and I think I’ll be working on it for the rest of forever. Such is life.

I seem to be learning some of the same lessons over and over but on a deeper level each time. I suppose that’s how true wisdom is built. Over and over, the same point is made until my brain finally learns to embrace the gray area that is every experience. Each situation falls somewhere on the spectrum of the positive/negative scale. All I can do is try to remember to accept things in the moment for what they are and make decisions that will encourage balance overall. And when I do choose to have an unbalanced time in my life I can also choose not expend my energy fighting that tip of the scale but instead remember how the sacrifice will take on meaning in the end.