Quest for anomaly

A little over a month ago I took a pre-employment drug test. I went through my steps, emptying my pockets and providing a sample. I initial my vials and then stepped into the main office. At this point, the nurse looked at the paperwork and saw what the pre-employment test was for.

“Alaska? It’s too cold outside here now.” It was probably mid-fifties in Florida, about twenty to thirty degrees warmer than I’ve been getting.

It wasn’t just the weather that stopped her, of course living in Florida she was definitely used to warmth. But Alaska was far. I realized then that if people were surprised by what you were doing, you were probably doing something pretty interesting.

I’m certain it’s not too interesting for Alaskans who work in Alaska. Mark Adams, in Tip of the Iceberg, writes, “Three basic types of people live in Alaska… There are Native Alaskans, who’ve been there since time immemorial. There are people who have come north running toward something, usually a chance to do something unpleasant to make a lot of money quickly… And there are those who are running away from something.”

But if you’re hardy enough to make a living up here, you’re accepted in Alaska. it’s a different brand of the American Dream, though offered from the same manufacturer. And to many who reside in the lower 48, it’s just anomalous enough to be an interesting way of life.

Hustling for fun and profit

When I was first starting out as an actor, I had to hustle. And I did. I was once described as the busiest performer in Central Florida. I don’t know how true it was, but I was always on the go.

That changed following a family tragedy and subsequent illness that left me – for several years – somewhat debilitated. Now that my health has improved (not to where I was, but better than I had been doing after the diagnosis), I find myself much less inclined to hustle.

Self-promoting, especially now in the prevalent culture of social media, could easily eat up all of your time. I know actors who are devoting around a fifth of their time to keeping connected with their followers.

On the one hand, you have to keep a steady stream of communication to maintain engagement. On the other hand, it certainly will lead to burn out.

I don’t like the hustle anymore. In my twenties, maybe I didn’t mind it. I felt like it was going to get me somewhere. Now, instead, I come to the table with a strong work ethic, and motivation. Not as sexy as an Instagram stream, but it keeps me busy, working, and happy. And I think that’s what’s important, at least to me.