This time last year

JoyLast year around this time I had basically a mental breakdown in regards to my career. I was rotating my wheels and all my pent up frustrations exploded in a very snarky email to a boss I wasn’t seeing eye to eye with at the time. I pressed send and instantly regretted it for a lot of reasons. One, I was sure that was me sending myself to the unemployment line when I was solely responsible for my financial well-being. And two, that is not who I wanted to be; a passive aggressive little brat with no realistic idea of how the corporate game is played. I had worked very hard to be smarter than that and I felt in one click of a button I ruined all the integrity I had built as a professional. After groveling I was lucky enough to save my job.

But at first, as I silently tried to redeem myself, I was questioning this life that had somehow landed in my lap. I was a writer, which was a huge accomplishment because I had spent years working towards becoming one. I just felt like this was not the writing I had ambitiously dreamt of when I was in college working my ass off to try to be the top of the class. This was not the writing I thought I was heading to when I poured my blood, sweat and tears at a low level radio job for years. But here I was a writer for an oil and gas company, making a decent living and producing a ton of work… but I had no idea what I was doing there. I was completely lost and helpless at the end of last year.

During that Christmas I spent a lot of time on my own trying to figure things out because I was so tired of feeling my life pass me by and not really knowing how to contribute to it. That November, I had been to a lot of really great new improv shows and it was one of the few things I could remember shedding light on me for the months that had passed. So I just went towards it. I actually charged towards it. And with every show and class and opportunity to perform I feel like a little piece of the puzzle is put into place with the lessons I am learning.

I took the rules of improv into my floundering career and I can’t tell you how much things have turned around. I started saying yes, I started to contribute more and was more concerned about my colleagues than I was about myself. Everything changed. My relationship with my boss, my understanding of the “game” in all scenarios I am in and even my connection to my work, no matter what it is.

This year, I am a little less lost and a lot more filled with purpose. Things are not perfect but the journey ahead is towards that light I went towards last year. And every day I am grateful that there was a light to go towards.

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Back to my happy place

photo (2)Over the last 10 days I have stumbled upon a temporary improv hiatus. This hiatus was mostly due to the holidays and a wedding I had to go to. It has been great to catch with old friends and family and establish some balance in my life. But today after going to a show at The Kinkonauts Lab, I was reminded how much I missed “my people”.

I often feel like I have very little in common with people but over the last year I have been lucky enough to become better acquainted with the people of Calgary’s amazing improv community. Sure our day to day lives might be varied (university, teaching and the corporate monkey bars) but we all have this one thing that we are all pretty passionate about that brings us together. A real … community. And every time I am in the room with them whether it is in a class, in a show or watching a show, I feel really lucky to know these people.

Tonight I watched an experimental show at the Lab hosted by Rob Janowski and Shawn Holt. It opened with Shawn’s duo called “Half Her Age” with the talented Isabel Sinclair followed by a hodge podge of Calgary improvisers from different theatres in the city, many of whom I have been lucky enough to practice with. It was so cool to see their strengths and differences come together in really engaging scenes. I think the best improvisers are the ones who can work with anyone and adapt to different styles and this show allowed for that kind of magic to happen. I was inspired because that’s the kind of improviser I want to be – someone who can’t put their ego aside and work with anyone, in a bunch of different styles.

I am excited that this show is happening every other week, I think you should all definitely check out it out and experience the avant garde style of improv we have budding right here in our own community. Amazing things can happen in church basements, brightly painted classrooms and cafés, people – so check out CalgaryImprov.org for all the cool shows happening around the city. I’m excited to jump back into my obsessions with regular scheduled classes and workshops back up tomorrow. I’m back where I belong! My happy place…