Wednesday, April 4, 2012

14 Meetings

On 3 April 2011, I left Chevy Chase MD for Austin TX, the first leg of a 1,520 mile return drive, after a 4-week reconnaissance to Washington DC in search of a new life. I had 14 meetings in DC, VA and MD with theatre managers, artistic directors, arts' organizers, actors, writers, and storytellers.  I attended a storytelling conference, performed a few gigs and was offered others, should I return.  I visited old friends, made new ones.  There were 3 considerations, (a) weather, (b) career potential, (c) cost of living.  I could live with the cold, and there were work opportunities even for an old bag like me as long as I moved there first.  And there it was: "as long as I moved there first," bringing us to the cost of living.  I couldn't afford a small apartment for 6 months without cashing in my itsy bitsy, teeny weeny, yellow polka dot IRA.

Should I "go wild," sell my house and possessions, leave all the friends I've made in the past 19 years and make a fresh start in a capital city?  Wait a minute...didn't I do that at 22 when I moved to London?  At 26 when I moved to Tripoli?  At 30 to Dubai?  At 35 to Austin?  Did I really want to do it again at 54?

Through Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas and then Texas -- from full-length wool coat/mittens to cotton frock/sandals --  pondering, contemplating, cogitating (she's at the Thesaurus again).  Then it dawned on me.  Why not have 14 meetings in Austin?  How long was it since I'd kick-started my life in Austin, a city I love?  Could I re-shape and re-vitalize what I already had?  If I could promote myself in a place where I'm nobody, couldn't I do it where I'm not completely unknown?  What was stopping me?  Could it be... FEAR?

Hey!  Perhaps I'd been spouting the truth after all: "Wherever you go, there you are."  Could I be the best of me right where I am?  Hm.  I arranged 14 meetings, actually 13 + 1 swim at Barton Springs (this is Austin, y'all).  By December 2011, I'd run bar/box office for a favorite theatre company, learned an American dialect and a new acting style for another I'd longed to work with; written/produced/performed my own show; adapted/produced/performed a second; even received a few nominations.  No bragging here; I made mistakes, lost LOTS of money, and often looked a fool but lessons were learned.  I might be proving something I always believed but for which I needed hard evidence.  You don't have to run away to the other side of the world to get a different perspective.  You can just sit in a different chair at a different window on the other side of the house.


  1. Maybe you can just sit in a different chair on the other side of town.

    Wise . . . very wise! I thought out other geographic options when I retired, then bought a house five miles from my old condo, practically next door to the Y . . . my new "home away from home."

  2. Every now and again a wee shake up is good for the soul, time to take a fresh look at what we have........... Good for you my brave friend, Berni & Austin, seem to fit together perfectly :-) x x x

  3. Very sage, Bernadette. You're an inspiration, and I miss you terribly. Oh, so does Heinz.