Looking for a do over

QUESTION: Masters, I am currently really struggling with life. I need to change my career. My marriage isn’t really working for me either. My daughters are all grown. I really want to make a major decision to move to NYC to pursue what has been my passion my whole life-which is to be an actress. I did pursue that career from 21-31 yrs old, with minor success. I left to raise a family, went back to school to be a teacher, and lived a simple life. My husband does not want to move there – which I totally understand. I would be on my own. I guess I am asking if this would be a foolish move or would I find success? ~Patty, USA

ANSWER: There are way too many variables to be able to say with certainty that success is in your future. You stepped away from this profession so long ago that many things have changed and been re-worked since you were in the field. Recognition within the profession and a portfolio of past accomplishments is king.

If you feel this strong urge to jump back in, start small to see if it is really what you have created in your imagination. Try a friendlier location such as Chicago, Nashville, Las Vegas, or even your local theater groups. Talk to an agent about the requirements currently standard for professionals in the arts and also to get an idea about commercials, television, and other possibilities.

Acting is a labor-intensive career and not for the faint or hesitant of heart. It has also been a “grass is greener on the other side of the fence” idea for you. Define exactly what you want out of this life change; you are no longer 21. The majority of older actors in the business are those who payed their dues for decades; few newbies break into the business.

Part of your wanderlust is the unsatisfactory nature of your marriage and feeling a total lack of excitement. You can change this by bringing more things and people into your life. You are a wonderful teacher and could start a new generation of actors by putting on local presentations with the youth. Sure, you would not be the star in the production, but you would be the star in their eyes and those of their families.

A middle-aged or older person can aspire to become, say, an Olympic athlete because they performed well in college in a sport. But they must inventory their body, mind, and spirit’s current state of readiness for rededication to potential physical extremes, reconciling that with the condition of their aging bodies. Be realistic. How does reality dictate where you can go?