Tuesday, March 7, 2017

First Lesson of Project Happy Life

I want to find the perfect way to tell you that there have been huge changes for me lately.  Maybe you've heard:

I quit my job at Blue Man Group.

I never really wrote much about the fact that I worked there.  I wasn't sure what the rules were, and I was afraid, honestly, that I would inadvertently break one and get in trouble or embarrass someone or hurt someone's feelings.  There's a lot to say about what working there has meant to my life.  I'll get to that another time.  For now, the actual departure and aftermath:

The day I left - the day I had cleaned out my office and had everything packed and ready to get loaded into a cab for home, we also had my dear friend, Zea's birthday dinner to attend.  So we left all my things near the exit on the wardrobe work tables, and went to dinner.  On the way back to the theatre to get my stuff, Cindy heard a message on her phone that her mother had just passed away.  As we walked, she stopped every 50 yards or so and threw up in the street.  When she was as collected as possible, she hailed a cab, and I shuttled things up the stairs and out onto the sidewalk.  Our friend Elvin came by and jumped in to help as soon as he knew what was going on.  The cab driver was lovely and sympathetic.  Cindy sobbed most of the way home.  The driver even helped unload all the stuff into our house!

And then we were home.  I had no more job.  Cindy had no more parents.  I didn't know what to feel; I'm not sure I had any feelings.  Cindy was monumentally sad.  She was trying to figure out how she could immediately fly to Hawaii.  I was trying to figure out how I could immediately get to work on Project Happy Life.  Actually... I was a little angry.  I felt a little robbed.  I had just finished my last week in a job I'd had and loved for 8 years (one of the many I've had at Blue Man over the 20+ years I worked there).  I was the Production Stage Manager for the New York production.  My last week was beautiful.  I had my final show on Wednesday, and my best friend, Bernadette (who is also the Stage Manager there) and Akia organized a party for me in the lobby afterwards.  So many people said such nice things to me.  I wanted time to reflect.  I wanted to put those memories in my pocket, so I could have them whenever I need them.

But I said I felt robbed.  I had all these impulses - to stay at home for a couple of weeks and ball-up.  I wanted to have a good cry and to take stock of everything that happened to me.  But at the same time, how could I not go with my wife to her mother's funeral?  Honestly, I looked for excuses to stay home.  The first day of school for the class I am taking this semester was that Tuesday.  Cindy and her brother urged me to stay home and attend my class.  But, I knew that wasn't right.  As I made my peace with the fact that things weren't going to go as I had planned, some friends offered to skype me into my Tuesday class from Hawaii.  It was settled.  I was some kind of relieved. I was going with Cindy.  We organized and packed on Sunday, and we flew to Hawaii on Monday morning for the funeral.

We've been home now for 5 weeks, and for the majority of the time, as Cindy has been grieving, I have felt like I've been working without inspiration.  I've felt aimless and yet excessively busy with school, theatre projects, organizing...  I haven't really known what to say to you.  I wanted to have some big sort of splashy reveal of Project Happy Life, LLC and how it will work.  I wanted to be able to tell you about all my big plans.  But it's honestly, I overextended myself with theatre projects and volunteer projects and class projects.  First lesson of Project Happy Life - don't take on too many projects, and leave space to show up for the people you love.

More to come.


5 comments:

  1. I love your honesty. I was listening to Terry Gross in the car today and the comedian she was interviewing said (of the effect of the death if both if his parents by the time he was 19) that his life was a series of both happy and sad surprises. Sometimes both at the same time, I think. As you say, however, this is a beginning. But sometimes rain on your wedding day can be a good thing - you know how your partner will respond to adversity. I think you just did that for Cindy 💙

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  2. Project Happy Life and Project Real Life coexist in the same space, right? Love & light to you and Cindy as you both navigate this new normal.

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  3. I loved reading this! Thank you for sharing such honesty and emotion.

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    1. Thanks, Nina! We missed you Tuesday.

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