I forgot to grab my glasses before I sat down to write this and now I have a purring sooty-snowball of a cat on my legs, pretending to be deeply asleep so I can’t move. I know she is pretending because every so often she cracks an eyelid and I am inspected by a sliver of baby-blue cat eye. She knows I’m not getting up to get my glasses now. I’ll squint instead.
Somewhere in this crazy week of bona-fide summer temperatures which quickly segued into an ice storm, I thought that something felt off. It wasn’t the weather. It’s never that. I couldn’t put my finger on it until tax day when I realized this is usually the time of year when I lose my mind. I scrape the bottom of my bank account and pray for my tax return to arrive before my next paycheck. I trawl Craigslist and call Apartment People and panic about moving until my hair falls out and then I settle for something at the last minute, boxes piling up and pockets turned out. This is a bad season to be an actor; pilot season has ended, only the musicals are auditioning for summer, and my phone and email stay undisturbed.
None of that happened this year.
I don’t know why. I mean, things aren’t that different. I’m still moving (down the street). I’m still waiting on my tax return (those security deposits aren’t going to pay themselves). I’m technically not in a play right now (but will be soon). Perhaps–just perhaps–the difference is that at almost 25, I feel…capable?
I always expected a jarring transition into adulthood, a switch that would flip or a job I’d get or something that would say “You are in charge now. The responsibility is now yours.” Of course, it didn’t happen that way. And maybe next April I’ll be a wreck again.
For now, though? I’m happy. I’m madly in love (still). I’m working on sharing my life. I am beginning to see tiny buds on the branches of the tree of my labors–30 Minutes won the “Local Gem” award at the Riverbend Film Festival; coming up, I get to work with a cast of seriously top-level Chicago actors in a play my friend wrote for the Dionysos Cup; I’ll see my first commercial check in the next few weeks. Soon, it’ll even be warm enough to go on impromptu beach dates and laugh until the sun goes down and hope there isn’t too much sand in our now melted-ice coffee.
I love you, Chicago.